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In terms of population, Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and the 51st largest city in the United States.[10] It is racially more similar to the rest of the United States than any other major city.[82]

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 382,368 people, 151,818 households, and 94,862 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,304.8 per square mile (889.9/km2). There were 167,310 housing units at an average density of 1,022.1 per square mile (475.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 71.9% White, 11.5% African American, 4.8% Asian, 1.2% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.2% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 15.3% of the population.[83]

Of the 151,818 households, 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48, and the average family size was 3.14.[83]

The median age in the city was 33.9 years. 26.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.9% were from 25 to 44; 24.9% were from 45 to 64; and 11.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.3% male and 50.7% female.[83]

The median income for a household in the city was $44,477, and the median income for a family was $57,088. Males had a median income of $42,783 versus $32,155 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,517. About 12.1% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.5% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.[83]

Metropolitan area

Wichita is the principal city of both the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Wichita-Winfield Combined Statistical Area (CSA).[84][85] The Wichita MSA encompasses Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey, and Sumner counties and, as of 2010, had a population of 623,061, making it the 84th largest MSA in the United States.[84][86][87]

The larger Wichita-Winfield CSA also includes Cowley County and, as of 2013, had an estimated population of 673,598.[88] Nearby Reno County is not a part of the Wichita MSA or Wichita-Winfield CSA, but, were it included, it would add an additional population of 64,511 as of 2010.[89]

Economy

Boeing plant in Wichita (2010). Boeing was once the largest employer in Wichita (as per a 2005 analysis), and aviation remains the city's largest industry.

It is the birthplace of famous restaurants such as White Castle and Pizza Hut.[90][91] A survey of well-known Kansas-based brands conducted by RSM Marketing Services and the Wichita Consumer Research Center showed many of the top 25 Kansas-based brands such as Koch, Coleman, Cessna, Pizza Hut, Beechcraft, Freddy's and more are based in Wichita.[92]

Wichita's principal industrial sector is Riverside and College Hill. Riverside is northwest of downtown, across the Arkansas River, and surrounds the 120-acre (0.49 km2) Riverside Park.[74] upscale College Hill is east of downtown, south of Wichita State University. It is one of the more historic neighborhoods, along with Delano on the west side and Midtown in the north-central city.[75]

Four other historic neighborhoods—developed in southeast Wichita (particularly near Boeing, Cessna and Beech aircraft plants) -- are among the nation's few remaining examples of U.S. government-funded temporary World War II housing developments to support war factory personnel: Beechwood (now mostly demolished), Oaklawn, Hilltop (the city's highest-density large neighborhood), and massive Planeview (where over 30 languages are spoken) -- in all, home to about a fifth of the city's population at their peak. Though designed as temporary housing, all have remained occupied into the 21st Century, most becoming low-income neighborhoods.[76][77][78][79][80]

In terms of population, Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and the 51st largest city in the United States.[10] It is racially more similar to the rest of the United States than any other major city.[82]

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 382,368 people, 151,818 households, and 94,862 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,304.8 per square mile (889.9/km2). There were 167,310 housing units at an average density of 1,022.1 per square mile (475.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 71.9% White, 11.5% African American, 4.8% Asian, 1.2% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.2% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 15.3% of the population.[83]

Of the 151,818 households, 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48, and the average family size was 3.14.[83]

The median age in the city was 33.9 years. 26.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.9% were from 25 to 44; 24.9% were from 45 to 64; and 11.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.3% male and 50.7% female.[83]

The median income for a household in the city was $44,477, and the median income for a family was $57,088. Males had a median income of $42,783 versus $32,155 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,517. About 12.1% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.5% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.[83]

Metropolitan area

Wichita is the principal city of both the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Wichita-Winfield Combined Statistical Area (CSA).[84][85] The Wichita MSA encompasses Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey, and Sumner counties and, as of 2010, had a population of 623,061, making it the 84th largest MSA in the United States.[84][86][87]

The larger Wichita-Winfield CSA also includes Cowley County and, as of 2013, had an estimated population of 673,598.[88] Nearby Reno County is not a part of the Wichita MSA or Wichita-Winfield CSA, but, were it included, it would add an additional population of 64,511 as of 2010.2010 census, there were 382,368 people, 151,818 households, and 94,862 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,304.8 per square mile (889.9/km2). There were 167,310 housing units at an average density of 1,022.1 per square mile (475.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 71.9% White, 11.5% African American, 4.8% Asian, 1.2% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.2% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 15.3% of the population.[83]

Of the 151,818 households, 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individual

Of the 151,818 households, 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48, and the average family size was 3.14.[83]

The median age in the city was 33.9 years. 26.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.9% were from 25 to 44; 24.9% were from 45 to 64; and 11.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.3% male and 50.7% female.[83]

The median income for a household in the city was $44,477, and the median income for a family was $57,088. Males had a median income of $42,783 versus $32,155 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,517. About 12.1% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.5% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.[83]

Wichita is the principal city of both the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Wichita-Winfield Combined Statistical Area (CSA).[84][85] The Wichita MSA encompasses Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey, and Sumner counties and, as of 2010, had a population of 623,061, making it the 84th largest MSA in the United States.[84][86][87]

The larger Wichita-Winfield CSA also includes Cowley County and, as of 2013, had an estimated population of 673,598.[88] Nearby Reno County is not a part of the Wichita MSA or Wichita-Winfield CSA, but, were it included, it would add an additional population of 64,511 as of 2010.Cowley County and, as of 2013, had an estimated population of 673,598.[88] Nearby Reno County is not a part of the Wichita MSA or Wichita-Winfield CSA, but, were it included, it would add an additional population of 64,511 as of 2010.[89]

It is the birthplace of famous restaurants such as White Castle and Pizza Hut.[90][91] A survey of well-known Kansas-based brands conducted by RSM Marketing Services and the Wichita Consumer Research Center showed many of the top 25 Kansas-based brands such as Koch, Coleman, Cessna, Pizza Hut, Beechcraft, Freddy's and more are based in Wichita.[92]

Wichita's principal industrial sector is manufacturing, which accounted for 21.6 percent of area employment in 2003. Aircraft manufacturing has long dominated the local economy, and plays such an important role that it has the ability to influence the economic health of the entire region; the state offers tax breaks and other incentives to aircraft manufacturers.[93]

Healthcare is Wichita's second-largest industry, employing approximately 28,000 people in the local area. Since healthcare needs remain fairly consistent regardless of the economy, this field was not subject to the same pressures that affected other industries in the early 2000s. The Kansas Spine Hospital opened in 2004, as did a critical care tower at Wesley Medical Center.industrial sector is manufacturing, which accounted for 21.6 percent of area employment in 2003. Aircraft manufacturing has long dominated the local economy, and plays such an important role that it has the ability to influence the economic health of the entire region; the state offers tax breaks and other incentives to aircraft manufacturers.[93]

Healthcare is Wichita's second-largest industry, employing approximately 28,000 people in the local area. Since healthcare needs remain fairly consistent regardless of the economy, this field was not subject to the same pressures that affected other industries in the early 2000s. The Kansas Spine Hospital opened in 2004, as did a critical care tower at Wesley Medical Center.[94] In July 2010, Via Christi Health, which is the largest provider of healthcare services in Kansas, opened a hospital that will serve the northwest area of Wichita. Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa is the system's fifth hospital to serve the Wichita community.[95] In 2016, Wesley Healthcare opened Wesley Children's Hospital, the first and only children's hospital in the Wichita area.[96]

Thanks to the early 20th-Century oil boom in neighboring Butler County, Kansas, Wichita became a major oil town, with dozens of oil exploration companies and support enterprises. Most famous of these was Koch Industries, today a global natural-resources conglomerate. The city was also at one time the headquarters of the former Derby Oil Company, which was purchased by Coastal Corporation in 1988. Wichita is home to oil & natural gas organizations Kansas Strong and Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association (KIOGA)

Koch Industries and Cargill, the two largest privately held companies in the United States,[97] both operate headquarters facilities in Wichita. Koch Industries' primary global corporate headquarters is in a large office-tower complex in northeast Wichita. Cargill Meat Solutions Div., at one time the nation's 3rd-largest beef producer, is headquartered downtown. Other firms with headquarters in Wichita include roller-coaster manufacturer Chance Morgan, gourmet food retailer Dean & Deluca, renewable energy company Alternative Energy Solutions, and Coleman Company, a manufacturer of camping and outdoor recreation supplies. Air Midwest, the nation's first officially certificated "commuter" airline, was founded and headquartered in Wichita and evolved into the nation's 8th largest regional airline prior to its dissolution in 2008.[98]

As of 2013, 68.2% of the population over the age of 16 was in the labor force. 0.6% was in the armed forces, and 67.6% was in the civilian labor force with 61.2% employed and 6.4% unemployed. The occupational composition of the employed civilian labor force was: 33.3% in management, business, science, and arts; 25.1% in sales and office occupations; 17.2% in service occupations; 14.0% in production, transportation, and material moving; 10.4% in natural resources, construction, and maintenance. The three industries employing the largest percentages of the working civilian labor force were educational services, health care, and social assistance (22.3%); manufacturing (19.2%); and retail trade (11.0%).[83]

The cost of living in Wichita is below average; compared to a U.S. average of 100, the cost of living index for the city is 84.0.[99] As of 2013, the median home value in the city was $117,500, the median selected monthly owner cost was $1,194 for housing units with a mortgage and $419 for those without, and the median gross rent was $690.[83]

Wichita has a national reputation in U.S. media as an affordable and pleasant place to live. In July 2006, CNN/Money and Money ranked Wichita ninth on their list of the 10 best U.S. big cities in which to live.[100] In 2008, MSN Real Estate ranked Wichita 1st on its list of most affordable cities.[101] Wichita was also named the most "Uniquely American" city by Newsmax magazine in a May 2009 piece written by Peter Greenberg.[102] However, in its 2019 "Best Places to Live" survey, U. S. News & World Report, ranked Wichita at #79 out of 125 U.S. cities,[103] and noted that violent crime in Wichita had risen over the previous few years.[104] In the 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book, in its annual "State Rankings on Overall Child Well-Being," Kansas was ranked No. 15 out of the 50 states. However, the state has a significantly higher rate of child incarceration than the nation, generally, and a higher rate of the state taking children from their homes.[105]

From the early to late 20th century, aircraft pioneers such as Clyde Cessna, "Matty" Laird, Lloyd Stearman, Walter Beech, Al Mooney and Bill Lear began aircraft-manufacturing enterprises that would lead to Wichita becoming the nation's leading city in numbers of aircraft produced. The aircraft corporations E. M. Laird Aviation Company (the nation's first successful commercial airplane manufacturer), Travel Air (started by Beech, Stearman and Cessna), Stearman, Cessna, Beechcraft and Mooney were all founded in Wichita between 1920 and early 1932.[14] By 1931, Boeing (of Seattle, Washington) had absorbed Stearman, creating "Boeing-Wichita", which would eventually grow to become Kansas' largest employer.[15][106]

Today, Cessna Aircraft Co. (the world's highest-volume airplane manufacturer) and Beechcraft remain based in Wichita having merged into Textron Aviation in 2014, along with Learjet and Boeing's chief subassembly supplier, Spirit AeroSystems. Airbus maintains a workforce in Wichita, and Bombardier (parent company of Learjet) has other divisions in Wichita as well. Over 50 other aviation businesses operate in the Wichita MSA, as well dozens of suppliers and subcontractors to the local aircraft manufacturers. In total, Wichita and its companies have manufactured an estimated 250,000 aircraft since Clyde Cessna's first Wichita-built aircraft in 1916.[15][16][107][108]

In the early 2000s, a national and international recession combined with the after effects of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to depress the aviation sub-sector in and around Wichita. Orders for new aircraft plummeted, prompting Wichita's five largest aircraft manufacturers, Boeing Co., Cessna A

Today, Cessna Aircraft Co. (the world's highest-volume airplane manufacturer) and Beechcraft remain based in Wichita having merged into Textron Aviation in 2014, along with Learjet and Boeing's chief subassembly supplier, Spirit AeroSystems. Airbus maintains a workforce in Wichita, and Bombardier (parent company of Learjet) has other divisions in Wichita as well. Over 50 other aviation businesses operate in the Wichita MSA, as well dozens of suppliers and subcontractors to the local aircraft manufacturers. In total, Wichita and its companies have manufactured an estimated 250,000 aircraft since Clyde Cessna's first Wichita-built aircraft in 1916.[15][16][107][108]

In the early 2000s, a national and international recession combined with the after effects of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to depress the aviation sub-sector in and around Wichita. Orders for new aircraft plummeted, prompting Wichita's five largest aircraft manufacturers, Boeing Co., Cessna Aircraft Co., Bombardier Learjet Inc., Hawker Beechcraft and Raytheon Aircraft Co.—to slash a combined 15,000 jobs between 2001 and 2004. In response, these companies began developing small- and mid-sized airplanes to appeal to business and corporate users.[94] In 2007, Wichita built 977 aircraft, ranging from single-engine light aircraft to the world's fastest civilian jet; one-fifth of the civilian aircraft produced in United States that year, plus numerous small military aircraft.[16][107][108][109] In early 2012, Boeing announced it would be closing its Wichita plant by the end of 2013,[110] which paved the road for Spirit Aerosystems to open its plant.

Wichita has a complex cultural mix, dominated by Euro-American, blue-collar industrial and rural tastes, but embracing, to various degrees, classical arts and music, diverse domestic and foreign cultures (Hispanic, African-American, Native American, Asian, British and Irish cultural influences and activities are conspicuous), and avant garde cultural activity.

Arts

Wichit

Wichita is a cultural center for Kansas, home to several art museums and performing arts groups. The Wichita Art Museum is the largest art museum in the state of Kansas and contains 7,000 works in permanent collections.[111] The Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University is a modern and contemporary art museum with over 6,300 works in its permanent collection.[112]

Small art galleries are scattered around the city with some clustered in the districts of Old Town, Delano and south Commerce street. These galleries started the Final Friday Gallery crawl event, where visitors tour attractions free in the evening on the last Friday of each month. Larger mus

Small art galleries are scattered around the city with some clustered in the districts of Old Town, Delano and south Commerce street. These galleries started the Final Friday Gallery crawl event, where visitors tour attractions free in the evening on the last Friday of each month. Larger museums began participating and staying open late on Final Fridays shortly after its beginning.

Wichita is the music hub of central Kansas, and draws major acts from around the world, performing at various concert halls, arenas and stadiums around the area. Most major rock'n'roll and pop-music stars, and virtually all country music stars, perform there during their career.

Music Theatre Wichita, Wichita Grand Opera (both nationally renowned),[113]

Music Theatre Wichita, Wichita Grand Opera (both nationally renowned),[113] and the Wichita Symphony Orchestra perform regularly at the Century II Convention Hall downtown. Concerts are also regularly performed by the nationally noted schools of music at Wichita's two largest universities.[113][114]

The Orpheum Theatre, a classic movie palace built in 1922, serves as a downtown venue for smaller shows.

Wichita is alleged to be the birthplace of the electric guitar, the fuzz box, and other key innovations in rock'n'roll music.

The Wichita River Festival has been held in the Downtown and Old Town areas of the city since 1972. It has featured events, musical entertainment, sporting events, traveling exhibits, cultural and historical activities, plays, interactive children's events, a flea market, river events, a parade, block parties, a food court, fireworks, and souvenirs for the roughly 370,000+ patrons who attend each year.[115] In 2011, the festival was moved from May to June because of rain during previous festivals. The Wichita River Festival has seen immense growth, with record numbers in 2016 and again in 2018.[116] Much of that growth is attributed to attractive musical acts at the festival.[117]

The annual Wichita Black Arts Festival, held in the spring, celebrates the arts, crafts and creativity of Wichita's large African-American community. It usually takes place in Central-Northeast Wichita. A Juneteenth event and parade also are common

The annual Wichita Black Arts Festival, held in the spring, celebrates the arts, crafts and creativity of Wichita's large African-American community. It usually takes place in Central-Northeast Wichita. A Juneteenth event and parade also are common annual events.

The International Student Association at Wichita State University presents an annual international cultural exhibition and food festival, on the campus at WSU, providing an inexpensive sampling of global culture and cuisine to the general public.

One or more large Renaissance fairs occur annually, including the "RenFair" in conjunction with the "Kingdom of Calontir" of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). The fairs vary in length from one day to a week, typically at Sedgwick County Park or Newman University.

The Wichita Public Library's Academy Awards Shorts program is reportedly the oldest annual, complete, free public screening outside of Hollywood of the full array of short films nominated for an Academy Award ("Oscar"). In late winter, shortly before the Academy Awards ceremonies, the films—including all nominated documentary, live action, and animated shorts—are presented, free, at the Library and in local theaters and other venues around Wichita. Wichita's former Congressman, Motion Picture Association President Dan Glickman, has served as Honorary Chair of the event, and some of the filmmakers have attended and visited with the audiences.[118][119][120][121][122][123]

The Tallgrass Film Festival has been held in downtown Wichita since 2003. It draws over 100 independent feature and short films from all over the world for three days each October. Notable people from the entertainment industry have attended the festival.[124]

Aviation-related events are common in the Wichita area, including air shows, fly-ins, air races, aviation conferences, exhibitions, and trade shows. The city's two main air shows, which are generally held in alternating years, are the city-sponsored civilian Wichita Flight Festival[125] (originally the "Kansas Flight Festival") and the military-sponsored McConnell Air Force Base Open House and Airshow.[126] Both are large regional air shows with famous acts and multimillion-dollar aircraft displays (including many Wichita-built aircraft). In addition, numerous local, regional, and national aviation organizations host fly-ins, conferences, exhibitions and trade shows in the Wichita area on irregular schedules.

Museums and landmarks devoted to science, culture, and area history are located throughout the city. Several lie along the Arkansas River west of downtown, including the Exploration Place science and discovery center, the Mid-America All-Indian Center, the Old Cowtown living history museum, and The Keeper of the Plains statue and its associated display highlighting the daily lives of Plains Indians. The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum in downtown Wichita occupies the original Wichita city hall, built in 1892. The museum contains artifacts that tell the story of Wichita and Sedgwick County starting from 1865 and continuing to the present day.[127] Nearby is the 1913 Sedgwick County Memorial Hall and Soldiers and Sailors Monument. East of downtown are the Museum of World Treasures and railroad-oriented Great Plains Transportation Museum. The Coleman Factory Outlet and Museum was at 235 N St. Francis street and was the home of the Coleman Lantern until it closed in 2018.[128] Wichita State University hosts the Lowell D. Holmes Museum of Anthropology. The Kansas Aviation Museum, housed in the Terminal and Administration building of the former Municipal Airport, is in southeast Wichita adjacent to McConnell Air Force Base.

The Keeper of the Plains (2013)

Botanica, The Wichita Gardens, also along the Arkansas River, has 24 themed gardens including the Butterfly Garden and the award-winning Sally Stone Sensory Ga

Botanica, The Wichita Gardens, also along the Arkansas River, has 24 themed gardens including the Butterfly Garden and the award-winning Sally Stone Sensory Garden.[citation needed] The Sedgwick County Zoo in the northwest part of Wichita is the most popular outdoor tourist attraction in the state of Kansas, and is home to more than 2,500 animals representing 500 different species.[129] The zoo is next to Sedgwick county park and Sedgwick County Extension Arboretum.

Intrust Bank Arena is the city's primary event venue, featuring 22 suites, 2 party suites, 40 loge boxes and over 300 premium seats with a total potential capacity of over 15,000.[130] This arena in the middle of Wichita opened in January 2010.[131]

Located immediately east of downtown is Old Town, the city's entertainment district. In the early 1990s, developers transformed it from an old warehouse district into a mixed-zone neighborhood with residential space, nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, and museums.[132]

Moody's Skidrow Beanery, a

Intrust Bank Arena is the city's primary event venue, featuring 22 suites, 2 party suites, 40 loge boxes and over 300 premium seats with a total potential capacity of over 15,000.[130] This arena in the middle of Wichita opened in January 2010.[131]

Located immediately east of downtown is Old Town, the city's entertainment district. In the early 1990s, developers transformed it from an old warehouse district into a mixed-zone neighborhood with residential space, nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, and museums.[132]

Moody's Skidrow Beanery, at 625 E. Douglas in what was to become Old Town, was one of the more famous places in Wichita in the 1960s. It was the scene of a nationally followed First Amendment struggle[133] and was visited by Allen Ginsberg in 1966 (the name had been changed to the Magic Theatre Vortex Art Gallery) where he first read his long poem "Wichita Vortex Sutra."

Wichita is also home to one major indoor shopping mall: Towne East Square, managed by Simon Property Group. Towne East is home to four anchor stores, and has more than 100 tenants. A second large indoor shopping mall, Towne West Square, has seen all major and many smaller tenants leave and was put into foreclosure in 2019.[134] The oldest mall, Wichita Mall, was for many years largely a dead mall, but has since been converted into office space.[135] There are also two large outdoor shopping centers, Bradley Fair on the city's north-east side and NewMarket Square on the city's north-west side, each with over 50 stores spread out on several acres.

In 1936, the Wichita post office contained two oil-on-canvas murals, Kansas Farming, painted by Richard Haines and Pioneer in Kansas by Ward Lockwood. Murals were produced from 1934 to 1943 in the United States through the Section of Painting and Sculpture, later called the Section of Fine Arts, of the Treasury Department. The post office building became the Federal Courthouse at 401 N. Market Street and the murals are on display in the lobby.[136]

Wichita also has a number of parks and recreational areas such as Riverside park, College Hill park, and McAdams Park.

Wichita is mentioned in the songs "Wichita Skyline" by Shawn Colvin, "I've Been Everywhere" by Hank Snow, and "Captain Bobby Stout" by local musician Jerry Hahn. Allen Ginsberg wrote about a visit to Wichita in his poem Wichita Vortex Sutra, for which Philip Glass subsequently wrote a solo piano piece. Ginsberg was brought to Wichita by writer Charles Plymell, one of several of the "Wichita Group"--Michael McClure, Robert Branaman, David Haselwood, and Bruce Conner--who influenced San Francisco Beat culture.[137] Ruby Vroom, released by the band Soul Coughing in 1994, contains a song called "True Dreams of Wichita". Also, country trio Lady Antebellum recorded the song "Golden" for their fifth studio album of the same name. The opening line of that song is "Sunset falls on Wichita". In 1976 Charlie Daniels released the country song "Wichita Jail" and actor John Corbett released his country song Wichita.

The city has been a setting of various works of fiction. The award-winning stage play Hospitality Suite written by Roger Rueff takes place in Wichita as does its 1999 film adaptation, Hospitality Suite written by Roger Rueff takes place in Wichita as does its 1999 film adaptation, The Big Kahuna.[138] Wichita (1955) and portions of Wyatt Earp (1994), both of which dramatize the life and career of Wyatt Earp, are set in Wichita.[139][140] The short-lived 1959–1960 television western Wichita Town was set during the city's early years.[141] Other films wholly or partially set in the city include Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1979),[142] Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987),[143] The Ice Harvest (2005),[144] and Knight and Day (2010).[145] The city is also the setting of the long-running comic strip Dennis the Menace.[146] The city in post-apocalyptic form is also the setting of majority of the book trilogy, The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau.

AMD planned to release a new processor, code named Wichita, in 2012, but the project was cancelled in favor of a newer design.

Wichita is home to several professional, semi-professional, non-professional, and collegiate sports teams. Professional teams include the Wichita Thunder ice hockey team and Wichita Force indoor football team. In 2020, the New Orleans Baby Cakes, a Minor League Baseball team of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League relocated to the city and will play at Riverfront Stadium on the site of the former Lawrence–Dumont Stadium; the team will play as the Wichita Wind Surge.[147] The city hosts the Air Capital Classic, a professional golf tournament of the Korn Ferry Tour first played in 1990.

Defunct professional teams which used to play in Wichita include the Wichita Aeros and Wichita Wranglers baseball teams, the Wichita Wings indoor soccer team, the Wichita Wind (farm team to the Edmonton Oilers National Hockey League team in the early 1980s) and the Wichita Wild indoor football team. Semi-pro teams included the Kansas Cougars and Kansas Diamondbacks football teams.[148][149] Non-professional teams included the Wichita Barbarians rugby union team and the Wichita World 11 cricket team.[150]<

Defunct professional teams which used to play in Wichita include the Wichita Aeros and Wichita Wranglers baseball teams, the Wichita Wings indoor soccer team, the Wichita Wind (farm team to the Edmonton Oilers National Hockey League team in the early 1980s) and the Wichita Wild indoor football team. Semi-pro teams included the Kansas Cougars and Kansas Diamondbacks football teams.[148][149] Non-professional teams included the Wichita Barbarians rugby union team and the Wichita World 11 cricket team.[150][151]

Collegiate teams based in the city include the Wichita State University Shockers, Newman University Jets, and the Friends University Falcons. The WSU Shockers are NCAA Division I teams which compete in men's and women's basketball, baseball, volleyball, track and field, tennis, and bowling. The Newman Jets are NCAA Division II teams which compete in baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, wrestling, volleyball, and cheer/dance. The Friends Falcons compete in Region IV of the NAIA in football, volleyball, soccer, cross country, basketball, tennis, track and field, and golf.

Several sports venues are in and around the city. Intrust Bank Arena, downtown, is a 15,000-seat multi-purpose arena that is home to the Wichita Thunder. Lawrence–Dumont Stadium, just west of downtown, was a medium-sized baseball stadium that has been home to Wichita's various minor-league baseball teams over the years. It was also home of the minor-league National Baseball Congress and the site of the Congress's annual National Tournament.

Wichita Ice Arena, also just west of downtown, is a public ice-skating rink used for ice-skating competitions. In addition, Century II has been used for professional wrestling tournaments, sporting-goods exhibitions, and other recreational activity. The WSU campus includes two major venues: Eck Stadium, a medium-sized stadium with a full-sized baseball field that is home to the WSU Shocker baseball team, and Charles Koch Arena, a medium-sized, dome-roofed circular arena with a collegiate basketball court that hosts the WSU Shocker basketball team. Koch Arena is also used extensively for citywide and regional high school athletic events, concerts and other entertainments. Just north of the city is 81 Motor Speedway, an oval motor-vehicle racetrack used extensively for a wide range of car, truck and motorcycle races, and other motor sports events. Neighboring Park City is home to Hartman Arena and the Sam Fulco Pavilions, a moderate-capacity low-roofed arena developed for small rodeos, horse shows, livestock competitions, and exhibitions.

Wichita is also home to two sports museums, the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame and the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.[152][153]

Under state statute, Wichita is a city of the first class.[154] Since 1917, it has had a council–manager form of government.[155] The city council consists of seven members popularly elected every four years with staggered terms in office. For representative purposes, the city is divided into six districts with one council member elected from each. The mayor is the seventh council member, elected at large. The council sets policy for the city, enacts laws and ordinances, levies taxes, approves the city budget, and appoints members to citizen commission and advisory boards.[156] It meets each Tuesday.[154] The city manager is the city's chief executive, responsible for administering city operations and personnel, submitting the annual city budget, advising the city council, preparing the council's agenda, and oversight of non-departmental activities.[155] As of 2020, the city council consists of: Mayor Brandon Whipple, Brandon Johnson (District 1), Becky Tuttle (District 2), James Clendenin (District 3), Jeff Blubaugh (District 4), Bryan Frye (District 5), and Cindy Claycomb (District 6).[157] The city manager is Robert Layton.[158]

The Wichita Police Department, established in 1871, is the city's law enforcement agency.[159] With over 800 employees, including more than 600 commissioned officers, it is the largest law enforcement agency in Kansas.[160] The Wichita Fire Department, organized in 1886, operates 22 stations throughout the city. Organized into four battalions, it employs over 400 full-time firefighters.[161]

As the county seat, Wichita is the administrative center of Sedgwick County. The county courthouse is downtown, and most departments of the county government base their operations in the city.[162]

Many departments and agencies of the U.S. Government have facilities in Wichita. The Wichita U.S. Courthouse, also downtown, is one of the three courthouses of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.[163] The U.S. Air Force operates McConnell Air Force Base immediately southeast of the city.[164] The campus of the Robert J. Dole Department of Veterans Affairs Medical and Regional Office Center is on U.S. 54 in east Wichita.[165] Other agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation,[166] Food and Drug Administration,[167] and Internal Revenue Service[168] among others, have offices around the city.

Wichita lies within Kansas's 4th U.S. Congressional District. For the purposes of representation in the Kansas Legislature, the city is in the 16th and 25th through 32nd districts of the Kansas Senate and the 81st, 83rd through 101st, 103rd, and 105th districts of the Wichita Police Department, established in 1871, is the city's law enforcement agency.[159] With over 800 employees, including more than 600 commissioned officers, it is the largest law enforcement agency in Kansas.[160] The Wichita Fire Department, organized in 1886, operates 22 stations throughout the city. Organized into four battalions, it employs over 400 full-time firefighters.[161]

As the county seat, Wichita is the administrative center of Sedgwick County. The county courthouse is downtown, and most departments of the county government base their operations in the city.[162]

Many departments and agencies of the U.S. Government have facilities in Wichita. The Wichita U.S. Courthouse, also downtown, is one of the three courthouses of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.[163] The U.S. Air Force operates McConnell Air Force Base immediately southeast of the city.[164] The campus of the Robert J. Dole Department of Veterans Affairs Medical and Regional Office Center is on U.S. 54 in east Wichita.[165] Other agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation,[166] Food and Drug Administration,[167] and Internal Revenue Service[168] among others, have offices around the city.

Wichita lies within Kansas's 4th U.S. Congressional District. For the purposes of representation in the Kansas Legislature, the city is in the 16th and 25th through 32nd districts of the Kansas Senate and the 81st, 83rd through 101st, 103rd, and 105th districts of the Kansas House of Representatives.[154]

With over 50,000 students, Wichita USD 259 is the largest school district in Kansas.[169] It operates more than 90 schools in the city including 12 high schools, 16 middle schools, 61 elementary schools, and more than a dozen special schools and programs.[170] Outlying portions of Wichita lie within suburban public unified school districts including Andover USD 385, Circle USD 375, Derby USD 260, Goddard USD 265, Haysville USD 261, Maize USD 266, and Valley Center USD 262.[171]

There are more than 35 private and parochial schools in Wichita.[172] The Roman Catholic Diocese of Wichita oversees 16 Catholic schools in the city including 14 elementary schools and two high schools, Bishop Carroll Catholic High School and Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School.[173] The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod operates two Lutheran schools in the city, Bethany Lutheran School (Grades PK-5) and Holy Cross Lutheran School (PK-8).[174][175] There are also two Seventh-day Adventist schools in Wichita, Three Angels School (K-8) and Wichita Adventist Christian Academy (K-10).[176][172] The Roman Catholic Diocese of Wichita oversees 16 Catholic schools in the city including 14 elementary schools and two high schools, Bishop Carroll Catholic High School and Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School.[173] The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod operates two Lutheran schools in the city, Bethany Lutheran School (Grades PK-5) and Holy Cross Lutheran School (PK-8).[174][175] There are also two Seventh-day Adventist schools in Wichita, Three Angels School (K-8) and Wichita Adventist Christian Academy (K-10).[176][177] Other Christian schools in the city are Calvary Christian School (PK-12), Central Christian Academy (K-10), Classical School of Wichita (K-12), Sunrise Christian Academy (PK-12), Trinity Academy (K-12), Wichita Friends School (PK-6), and Word of Life Traditional School (K-12). In addition, there is an Islamic school, Anoor School (PK-8), operated by the Islamic Society of Wichita. Unaffiliated private schools in the city include Wichita Collegiate School, The Independent School, and Northfield School of the Liberal Arts, as well as three Montessori schools.[178]

Three universities have their main campuses in Wichita. The largest is Wichita State University (WSU), a public research university classified by Carnegie as "R2: Doctoral Universities – Higher Research Activity." WSU has more than 14,000 students and is the third-largest university in Kansas.[179][180] WSU's main campus is in northeast Wichita with multiple satellite campuses around the metro area.[181] Friends University, a private, non-denominational Christian university, has its main campus in west Wichita as does Newman University, a private Catholic university.[182][183]

Several colleges and universities based outside Wichita operate satellite locations in and around the city. The University of Kansas School of Medicine has one of its three campuses in Wichita.University of Kansas School of Medicine has one of its three campuses in Wichita.[184] Baker University, Butler Community College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Southwestern College, Tabor College, Vatterott College, and Webster University have Wichita facilities as do for-profit institutions including Heritage College and University of Phoenix.[185][186][187][188]

The Wichita Public Library is the city's library system, presently consisting of a central facility, the Advanced Learning Library in Delano and six branch locations in other neighborhoods around the city.[189] The library operates several free programs for the public, including special events, technology training classes, and programs specifically for adults, children, and families.[190] As of 2009, its holdings included more than 1.3 million books and 2.2 million items total.[191]

Media

The Wichita Eagle, which began publication in 1872, is the city's major daily newspaper.[192] Colloquially known as The Eagle, it was created from the 1960s merger of the city's two principal newspapers: The Wichita Eagle and The Wichita Beacon.[citation needed] The Wichita Business Journal is a weekly newspaper that covers local business events and developments.[193] Several other newspapers and magazines, including local lifestyle, neighborhood, and demographically focused publications are also published in the city.[194] These include: The Community Voice, a weekly African American community newspaper;[195] El Perico, a monthly Hispanic community newspaper;[196][197] The Liberty Press, monthly LGBT news;[198] Splurge!, a monthly local fashion and lifestyle magazine;[199] The Sunflower, the Wichita State University student newspaper.[200] The Wichita media market also includes local newspapers in several surrounding suburban communities.

The Wichita radio market includes Sedgwick County and neighboring Butler and Harvey counties.[201] Six AM and more than a dozen FM radio stations are licensed to and/or broadcast from the city.

The Wichita radio market includes Sedgwick County and neighboring Butler and Harvey counties.[201] Six AM and more than a dozen FM radio stations are licensed to and/or broadcast from the city.[202]

Wichita is the principal city of the Wichita-Hutchinson, Kansas television market, which comprises the western two-thirds of the state.[203] All of the market's network affiliates broadcast from Wichita with the ABC, CBS, CW, FOX and NBC affiliates serving the wider market through state networks of satellite and translator stations.[204][205][206][207][208][209] The city also hosts a PBS member station, a Univision affiliate, and several low-power stations.[210][211]

Wichita also utilizes local online news and event sites such as 360Wichita.com which has operated in Wichita since 1999.

Wichita suffered severe floods of the Arkansas river in 1877, 1904, 1916, 1923, 1944, 1951 and 1955. In 1944 the city flooded 3 times in 11 days.[212] As a result of the 1944 flood, the idea for the Wichita-Valley Center Floodway (locally known as the "Big Ditch") was conceived. The project was completed in 1958. The Big Ditch diverts part of the Arkansas River's flow around west-central Wichita, running roughly parallel to the Interstate 235 bypass.[61][213] A second flood control canal lies between the lanes of Interstate 135, running south through the central part of the city. Chisholm Creek is diverted into this canal for most of its length.[61][214] The city's flood defenses were tested in the Great Flood of 1993. Flooding that year kept the Big Ditch full for more than a month and caused $6 million of damage to the flood control infrastructure. The damage was not fully repaired until 2007.[215] In 2019, the Floodway was renamed the MS Mitch Mitchell Floodway in honor of the man credited for its creation.[216]

Utilities

Westar Energy provides electric power.[217] Cox Communications and Westar Energy provides electric power.[217] Cox Communications and Spectrum offer cable television, and AT&T U-Verse offers IPTV.[218] All three also offer home telephone and broadband internet service.[219] Kansas Gas Service provides utility natural gas.[220] The City of Wichita's department of Public Works and Utilities manages water provision and distribution, waste water treatment, and storm water drainage.[221] Multiple privately owned trash haulers, licensed by the county government, offer trash removal and recycling service.[222]

Health care

Via Christi Health operates three general medical and surgical hospitals in Wichita—Via Christi Hospital St. Francis, Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph, and Via Christi Hospital St. Teresa—and other specialized medical facilities.[223] The Hospital Corporation of America manages a fourth general hospital, Wesley Medical Center, along with satellite locations around the city.[224] All four hospitals provide emergency services. In addition, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs runs the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center, a primary and secondary care facility for U.S. military veterans.[165]

TransportationThe average commute time in Wichita was 18.2 minutes from 2013 to 2017.[225] Several federal and state highways pass through the city. Interstate 35, as the Kansas Turnpike, enters the city from the south and turns northeast, running along the city's southeastern edge and exiting through the eastern part of the city. Interstate 135 runs generally north-south through the city, its southern terminus lying at its interchange with I-35 in south-central Wichita. Interstate 235, a bypass route, passes through north-central, west, and south-central Wichita, traveling around the central parts of the city. Both its northern and southern termini are interchanges with I-135. U.S. Route 54 and U.S. Route 400 run concurrently through Wichita as Kellogg Avenue, the city's primary east-west artery, with interchanges, from west to east, with I-235, I-135, and I-35. U.S. Route 81, a north-south route, enters Wichita from the south as Broadway, turns east as 47th Street South for approximately half a mile, and then runs concurrently north with I-135 through the rest of the city. K-96, an east-west route, enters the city from the northwest, runs concurrently with I-235 through north-central Wichita, turns south for approximately a mile, running concurrently with I-135 before splitting off to the east and traveling around northeast Wichita, ultimately terminating at an interchange with U.S. 54/U.S. 400 in the eastern part of the city. K-254 begins at I-235's interchange with I-135 in north-central Wichita and exits the city to the northeast. K-15, a north-south route, enters the city from the south and joins I-135 and U.S. 81 in south-central Wichita, running concurrently with them through the rest of the city. K-42 enters the city from the southwest and terminates at its interchange with U.S. 54/U.S. 400 in west-central Wichita.[61]

Bus

Wichita Transit operates 53 buses on 18 fixed bus routes within the city. The organization reports over 2 million trips per year (5,400 trips per day) on its fixed routes. Wichita Transit also operates a demand response paratransit service with 320,800 passenger trips annually.[226] A 2005 study ranked Wichita near the bottom of the fifty largest American cities in terms of percentage of commuters using public transit. Only 0.5% used it to get to or from work.[227]

Greyhound Lines provides intercity bus service northeast to Topeka and south to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Bus service is

Wichita Transit operates 53 buses on 18 fixed bus routes within the city. The organization reports over 2 million trips per year (5,400 trips per day) on its fixed routes. Wichita Transit also operates a demand response paratransit service with 320,800 passenger trips annually.[226] A 2005 study ranked Wichita near the bottom of the fifty largest American cities in terms of percentage of commuters using public transit. Only 0.5% used it to get to or from work.[227]

Greyhound Lines provides intercity bus service northeast to Topeka and south to Greyhound Lines provides intercity bus service northeast to Topeka and south to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Bus service is provided daily north towards Salina and west towards Pueblo, Colorado by BeeLine Express (subcontractor of Greyhound Lines).[228][229] The Greyhound bus station that was built in 1961 at 312 S Broadway closed in 2016, and services relocated 1 block northeast to the Wichita Transit station at 777 E Waterman.[230]

The Wichita Airport Authority manages the city's two main public airports, Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport and Colonel James Jabara Airport.[231] Located in the western part of the city, Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport is the city's primary airport as well as the largest airport in Kansas.[61][231] Seven commercial airlines (Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest & United) serve Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport with non-stop flights to several U.S. airline hubs.[232] Jabara Airport is a general aviation facility on the city's northeast side.[233] The city also has several privately owned airports. Cessna Aircraft Field and Beech Factory Airport, operated by manufacturers Cessna and Beechcraft, respectively, lie in east Wichita.[234][235] Two smaller airports, Riverside Airport and Westport Airport, are in west Wichita.[236][237]

RailTwo Class I railroads, BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad (UP), operate freight rail lines through Wichita.[238] UP's OKT Line runs generally north-south through the city; north of downtown, the line consists of trackage leased to BNSF.[61][239] An additional UP line enters the city from the northeast and terminates downtown.[61] BNSF's main line through the city enters from the north, passes through downtown, and exits to the southeast, paralleling highway K-15.[61][240] The Wichita Terminal Association, a joint operation between BNSF and UP, provides switching service on three miles (5 km) of track downtown.[241] In addition, two lines of the Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad enter the city, one from the northwest and the other from the southwest, both terminating at their junction in west-central Wichita.[61]

Wichita has not had passenger rail service since 1979.[242] The nearest Amtrak station is in Newton 25 miles (40 km) north, offering service on the Southwest Chief line between Los Angeles and Chicago.[238] Amtrak offers bus service from downtown Wichita to its station in Newton as well as to its station in Oklahoma City, the northern terminus of the Heartland Flyer line.[243]

Walkability