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Wichita: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Wichita's principal industrial sector is manufacturing, which accounted for 21.6 percent of area employment in 2003. Aircraft has long since dominated the industry, and plays such an important role that it has the ability to influence the economic health of the entire region. In the early 2000s a national and international recession combined with the after effects of the terrorist attacks on September 11th to depress the aviation subsector in and around Wichita. Orders for new aircraft plummeted, prompting Wichita's four largest aircraft manufacturersBoeing Co., Cessna Aircraft Co., Bombardier Learjet Inc., 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.

Healthcare is Wichita's second-largest industry, employing approximately 28,000 people in the local area. Since health-care 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.

Several Wichita companies are leaders in their respective fields. Vulcan Chemicals, which operates a manufacturing plant in Wichita, ranks among the country's top producers of chlorinated solvents used to make such products as plastics, film, soft drinks, and electronic circuitry. Cargill Inc., one of the nation's major agribusiness corporations, has made Wichita the corporate headquarters for its Cargill Meat Solution division. The Coleman Company, a pioneer in the production of outdoor recreational gear, was founded in the city in the early twentieth century and remains headquartered there. Other companies based in Wichita include Koch Industries Inc., a diversified company active in chemicals, energy, finance, and paper; Via Christi Health System, a Catholic healthcare system serving Kansas, Oklahoma, and California; and Chance Rides Inc., the nation's largest designer and manufacturer of amusement rides.

Items and goods produced: airplanes, airplane supplies, outdoor recreational equipment and supplies, chemicals, meat products, household appliances, amusement rides

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The City of Wichita offers a number of incentive programs, including Industrial Revenue Bonds and a Neighborhood Revitalization Area Tax Rebate Program, which offers a 75- to 95-percent rebate on increased taxes due to new construction or refurbishment of property in certain areas within the city. The Wichita Business Loan Program has a loan pool of $9 million for existing and new small businesses within Revitalization Strategy Areas. The City of Wichita and the County of Sedgwick may extend tax exemptions for property used for manufacturing, research and development, or storing goods or commodities. Incentives offered by the Wichita Downtown Development Corp. include a Tenant Improvement Grant Fund, Housing and Pilot Landscaping grant programs, Douglas Street Facade Improvement Program, and Historic Preservation Tax Credits.

State programs

Kansas offers Enterprise Zone tax exemptions and credits to manufacturing companies that create at least two new jobs and to non-manufacturing businesses that create at least five new jobs. A Kansas Income Tax Credit may be available to firms that pay above-average wages to employees. The Kansas Existing Industries Expansion Program (KEIEP) and the Kansas Economic Opportunity Initiative Fund (KEOIF) provide loans to existing businesses that invest capital while keeping existing jobs or creating new ones. An income tax credit may be available for research and development expenses. A Kansas constitutional amendment exempts the inventories of merchants and manufacturers from property taxes.

Job training programs

The Investment in Major Projects and Comprehensive Training (IMPACT) program offers assistance in establishing training projects for new employees. The Kansas Industrial Training (KIT) program extends training assistance to new or expanding companies, while the Kansas Industrial Retraining (KIR) program assists companies that are diversifying or restructuring. Training services are also provided by the Wichita Area Technical College, the Kansas Technical Training Institute, and the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, which was founded in 2003.

Development Projects

Downtown Wichita has attracted over $100 million in investment since 2002. In addition to several residential developments, downtown now features the Old Town Square, a $20 million complex encompassing a six-screen movie theater, retail space, and office space. The City Arts buildings opened in 2004, and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame held its grand opening in April 2005. The largest project in the planning stage is the Wichita Waterwalk. Scheduled for completion in 2007, the $138 million development will house office, retail, and residential space. The River Corridor Improvement Project, which will open in 2006, will enhance public space along the Arkansas River by installing pedestrian bridges, constructing an amphitheater, and erecting the "Keeper of the Plains" statue.

Elsewhere in the city, developments of all sorts are in various stages. VoiceStream Wireless moved into Wichita in 2000, adding 800 new jobs. Other new businesses include Acutel Inc., Advanced Plastic Coating Services Inc., Midwest Technologies Inc., and VeriPrime Inc. The recently renovated Kansas Coliseum opened the Park City Raceway, a dirt racetrack, in May 2003, and the Wichita Art Museum completed a $10 million renovation the following month. The Waterfront shopping district, a 165-acre multi-use complex, and Regency Lakes Shopping Center, a 60-acre retail and restaurant project, were in the works in 2004. The Kansas Spine Hospital opened in Wichita that same year, as did the $70 million critical care tower at Wesley Medical Center.

Economic Development Information: Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, 350 W. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202; telephone (316)268-1133; fax (316)265-7502; email [email protected] Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce, 350 W. Douglas Ave., Wichita, KS 67202; telephone (316)265-7771; fax (306)265-7502; email [email protected]

Commercial Shipping

Wichita Mid-Continent Airport is the state's largest commercial and general aviation complex. In addition to transporting passengers, the airport handled 37,000 tons of cargo in 2004. Its major overnight carriers are Airborne Express, DHL, Emery, FedEx, and UPS. Wichita lies on Interstate 35, the only interstate highway that connects the United States with both Canada and Mexico. The city is served by 16 national and regional interstate common carriers. Three major railroadsUnion Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, and Kansas & Oklahoma Railroadlink the city to most major continental markets. Wichita has access to the U.S. Inland Waterway System from two ports located within 200 miles: the Port of Kansas City and the Tulsa Port of Catoosa provide access to the Missouri and Arkansas rivers, respectively. Wichita is home to the Sedgwick County Foreign Trade Zone #161, an area where foreign goods bound for international destinations can be temporarily stored without incurring an import duty.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Sedgwick County ranks second in the nation for concentration of manufacturing jobs and skilled labor, and first for employment in aircraft and parts manufacturing. The concentration of manufacturing firms utilizing high technology design is partially responsible for the highly-skilled work-force. Investment in training is also a contributor, as Kansas ranks second in the nation for workforce development spending per capita.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Wichita metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual average:

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 282,800

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 16,100

manufacturing: 58,400

trade, transportation and utilities: 49,500

information: 6,100

financial activities: 12,200

professional and business services: 26,300

educational and health services: 38,400

leisure and hospitality: 25,200

other services: 12,100

government: 38,500

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $19.45 (2004)

Unemployment rate: 6.3% (February 2005)

Largest employers (2004) Number of Employees
The Boeing Co. 12,300
Cessna Aircraft Co. 8,000
Raytheon Aircraft Co. 7,000
U.S. Government 5,186
Unified School District No. 259 4,955
State of Kansas 4,800
Via Christi Health System 4,795
City of Wichita 3,200
Sedgwick County 2,695
Bombardier Aerospace Learjet 2,500

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Wichita area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $234,693

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 95.5 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 3.5% to 6.45% (personal); 7.35% (corporate)

State sales tax rate: 5.3%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 1.0% county tax

Property tax rate: $113.387 per $1,000 assessed valuation (most areas; 2004)

Economic Information: Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, 350 W. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202; telephone (316)268-1133; fax (316)265-7502; email [email protected] Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce, 350 W. Douglas Ave., Wichita, KS 67202; telephone (316)265-7771; fax (306)265-7502; email [email protected]

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Wichita: Recreation


Wichita has retained its frontier roots while developing a cosmopolitan ambiance. The Old Cowtown Museum capitalizes on Wichita's past as a stop on the Chisholm Trail with forty-four original, restored, or replica buildings and displays depicting life between 1865 and 1880, along with programs celebrating Wichita's cattle-driving beginnings. Wichita turned the Arkansas River into a cultural asset by redesigning the riverside for public recreation and for popular events such as River Festival. Wichita's sophistication is evident in the city's outdoor sculptures, which number more than 125 and include such works as the large Joan Miro mosaic mural at Wichita State University. Price Woodward Park is located between Century II and the Arkansas River; on the park grounds are several sculptures.

The Botanica, or Wichita Gardens, is located near the banks of the Arkansas River and is the state's only such garden. Lake Afton Public Observatory, with its 16-inch telescope, is open on weekends for astronomy enthusiasts. At the Sedgwick County Zoo, more than 2,500 animals roam an imitation veldt, a tropical rain forest, and a herpetarium that switches night for day. The Great Plains Nature Center features the Koch Habitat Hall, two miles of hiking trails, and the Coleman Auditorium. Tanganyika Wildlife Park, located three miles west of Wichita in Goddard, allows humans to interact with such animals as giraffes, lemurs, and Bengal tigers. Children enjoy the rides and entertainment offered by Joyland, the largest amusement park in Kansas.

Arts and Culture

Wichita supports many organizations in the fine, performing, and visual arts. Century II, the city's center for cultural activities, houses the major performance organizations. The Wichita Symphony Orchestra plays a season of classical, chamber, and pops concerts in Century II's concert hall between September and May; a highlight of the symphony orchestra season is the performance of P.I. Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture that concludes the River Festival. The Wichita Pops series features the performances on the "mighty" Wurlitzer organ, which was housed in the New York Paramount Theater. The Metropolitan Ballet's season of concerts always includes a staging of Tchaikovsky's popular Nutcracker Ballet during the Christmas season.

Live theater is popular in Wichita. Music Theatre of Wichita features Broadway guest artists performing with a resident company at Century II; the summer season includes five productions in all. The Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre, one of the nation's ten largest dinner theaters, hosts professional performances of Broadway shows. Wichita Children's Theatre & Dance sponsors shows performed by children for children. Wichita Grand Opera offers a professional opera season at Century II, and Wichita Chorus Sweet Adelines International features female barbershop singers.

Museums in the Wichita area are plentiful. The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame opened in Old Town in April 2005 with 126 inductees from Kansas sports. The Wichita Art Museum, the largest museum in Kansas, houses a nationally renowned American Art collection. The Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Museum depicts historical life in the area through unique and informative exhibits. The Museum of World Treasures has an eclectic collection that includes dinosaurs, Egyptian mummies, armor and crown jewels of European royalty, the Hall of American Presidents, and Civil War and World War II artifacts. Exploration Place features interactive exhibits that stimulate curiosity and creativity. The Kansas Underground Salt Museum, located in nearby Hutchinson, will be the Western Hemisphere's only museum to exist in a working salt mine when it opens in late 2005 or early 2006. Other Wichita museums include the Frank Lloyd WrightAllen Lambe House Museum, the Great Plains Transportation Museum, the Kansas African American Museum, the Kansas Aviation Museum, the Kansas Firefighters Museum, the Lowell D. Holmes Museum of Anthropology, the Mid-America All-Indian Center, the Museum of the Antique Fan Collectors Association, Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University, and Wings Over Wichita.

Festivals and Holidays

The Wichita River Festival, the city's major festival, draws more than 350,000 people for 10 days each May in a celebration centered on the Arkansas River. Held in conjunction with the festival are several other events, including an art and book fair, trolley tours, and a garden party at Botanica. Also held in May is the three-day Kansas Polkatennial. The Old Cowtown Museum presents music and 1870s saloon shows on the weekends from June to Labor Day; the museum also sponsors the Traditional 1870s Independence Days event over the Fourth of July weekend. More than 10,000 people attend the Old Town Concert Series each summer.

Wichita celebrates its jazz heritage with two festivals: the Wichita Jazz Festival in April, and a jazz festival hosted by Friends University in February. The Midwest Winefest is held over three days in April, and the Taste of Wichita takes place in downtown Wichita in early July. The Kansas Flight Festival, founded in 2003 as the Wichita Aviation Festival, features three days of air shows, aircraft displays, and concerts at the Colonel James Jabara Airport in August. September brings the Chili & BBQ Cook-Off. At the Old Cowtown Museum in October the Old-Time County Fair recreates a 1870s Wichita fair.

A number of diversity-based celebrations take place in Wichita throughout the year. Spring brings Multi-Cultural Celebration Week, which features a variety of events celebrating the ethnicity of residents. Traditional Native American dancing is featured at the Intertribal Pow-Wow in July. The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is held in January, and an Asian Festival takes place each October. For three days in September, the Wichita Black Arts Festival showcases the artistic heritage of the African American culture. Other multi-cultural events include Cinco de Mayo and the Juneteenth celebration.

Sports for the Spectator

The Wichita Wranglers of the Double-A minor league Texas League play their home baseball games at the Lawrence Dumont Stadium. Each August, this stadium is also the venue for the nation's largest amateur baseball tournament, the National Baseball Congress World Series, which has been held in Wichita since 1931. The Wichita Thunder competes in the Central Hockey League at Kansas Coliseum from October through April.

The Wichita State University baseball team, the Shockers, consistently earns national ranking and holds the record for most victories in a season. Wichita State also fields winning basketball teams in National Collegiate Athletic Association play. Friends University teams, nicknamed the Falcons, play baseball and softball, football, men's golf, women's volleyball, and men's and women's basketball, cross country, soccer, tennis, and track and field. The Jets of Newman University compete in baseball and softball, wrestling, and men's and women's basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, and volleyball.

The Wichita International Raceway sponsors drag racing on Saturdays during the summer, while 81 Speedway features dirt track auto races each week between March and October. Parimutuel greyhound racing action takes place year-round at Wichita Greyhound Park.

Sports for the Participant

Wichita maintains 107 municipal parks on nearly 3,000 acres for such activities as volleyball, croquet, softball, and soccer. Eighty-three public tennis courts are augmented by two private clubs; Riverside Tennis Center has been named one of the best public complexes in the country by the U.S. Tennis Association. For golfers, nine public and nine private courses are located in the area. Fishing and boating are permitted in authorized areas (El Dorado Lake is said to be the spot for prime bass fishing), and water skiing is allowed at Nims Bridge, North Riverside Park. A free fitness trail with 20 exercise stations is maintained in Sim Park. Cycling and rollerskating can be enjoyed in designated areas along the Arkansas River. The Soccer Club operates a regulation size indoor field for practice and league play.

Shopping and Dining

The Wichita area's shopping centers and malls include the state's two largest mallsTowne East and Towne Westwith more than 270 stores and restaurants combined. Wichita is an antiques center; a number of antique stores and shops are located in historic houses and in the downtown district. Wichita Old Town, a historic warehouse district, has been restored and offers shops and restaurants. Old Town Underground near the railroad yards has blossomed into an area of unusual shops. Upscale shopping is the attraction on Rock Road, and shoppers also enjoy the Downtown Farm and Art Market. The Newton Factory Outlet Stores lie 20 minutes north of the city.

Wichita restaurants are famous for steaks, prime rib, and barbecue beef, but dining choices also include international cuisine such as Italian, French, Chinese, Mexican, and Indian.

Visitor Information: Greater Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau, 100 S. Main, Ste. 100, Wichita, KS 67202; telephone (316)265-2800; toll-free (800)288-9424; fax (316)265-0162; email [email protected]

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Wichita: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Unified School District #259, or Wichita Public Schools, is the state's largest elementary and secondary public education system. It is administered by a nonpartisan, seven-member board elected to four-year staggered terms. Board members contract a superintendent.

In 2000 a five-year, $285 million bond issue was implemented to improve all of the district's existing schools and to construct new facilities. Stucky Middle School, the first new middle school in 37 years, opened its doors in 2003, and the Jackson Elementary School opened the following year. All other bond projects are scheduled for completion by the end of 2005.

The following is a summary of data regarding Wichita public schools as of the 20042005 school year.

Total enrollment: 48,818

Number of facilities elementary schools: 57 (19 are magnet schools)

middle schools: 17 (5 magnet schools)

senior high schools: 11 (1 magnet school)

special schools: 14, including special education centers, early childhood education centers, a boys' ranch, an e-school, and other specialties

Student/teacher ratio: 16:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $30,240

maximum: $46,534

Funding per pupil: $3,863

Wichita offers alternatives to the public school system through a strong parochial school system of approximately three dozen private schools ranging from preschool to high school. The majority of private schools are parochial. Nearly 10,400 students attend facilities of the Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Wichita, which has won numerous national awards from the National Catholic Educational Association. Non-denominational education is offered by Wichita Collegiate School, which offers a college-preparatory curriculum, and the Independent School, which provides the liberal arts education usually reserved for gifted students to average and above-average students.

Public Schools Information: Wichita Public Schools, 201 N. Water, Wichita, KS 67202; telephone (316)973-4000; email [email protected]

Colleges and Universities

Wichita State University is a four-year college with about 15,000 students. Six undergraduate colleges (arts and sciences, engineering, fine arts, education, business, and health professions) offer 60 degree programs in more than 200 areas of study. The graduate school offers 44 masters degrees, 10 doctoral programs, and three specialist degree programs in more than 100 areas of study.

Friends University, a liberal arts school founded by Quakers in 1898, is the fastest-growing private university in Kansas. With 3,200 students, it offers an associate degree program, 46 bachelor's degree programs, and nine master's degree programs in the colleges of arts and sciences, business, and continuing education. Newman University, formerly Kansas Newman College, was founded in 1993 as a Catholic two-year teacher's academy. It is now a four-year liberal arts college offering 6 associate's degrees, 27 bachelor's degrees, and 4 master's degree programs.

The University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, at one time affiliated with Wichita State University and now a separate facility, provides medical education in most fields of specialization. The university, which ranks among the top 10 medical schools in the country whose focus is primary care, maintains cooperative programs with area hospitals and operates its own care center on campus and at clinics throughout the city. Other Wichita institutions of higher learning include Southwestern College, Wichita Area Technical College, and Wichita Technical Institute, as well as branches of Baker University, Butler and Cowley county community colleges, and Tabor College of Hillsboro.

Libraries and Research Centers

Nearly two dozen libraries, maintained principally by public institutions and agencies, hospitals, and corporations, are located in Wichita. The Wichita Public Library has 10 branches throughout the city, the newest of which is the Lionel Alford Regional Branch Library, which opened in April 2003. The collection contains more than 900,000 items including books, videos, music CDs, magazines, motor manuals, art prints, CD-ROMs, maps, and books on cassette. Among special collections are the Driscoll Piracy Collection, Kansas and local history, genealogy, motor manuals, music scores, and state documents. The Wichita State University operates a substantial campus library with about one million volumes, more than 4,000 periodical subscriptions, and numerous special collections on a range of subjects pertaining primarily to Kansas and American history. Also based at the university are the Milton Helpern International Center of Forensic Sciences, which specializes in materials relating to crime and forensic problems, and the Institute for Aviation Research.

Among other libraries and research centers in the city are those affiliated with Friends University, the Wichita Art Museum, the Wichita Eagle, the Midwest Historical and Genealogical Society, the Wichita Sedgwick County Historical Society, and the Boeing Co.

The National Institute for Aviation Research, located at Wichita State University (WSU), is home to 15 laboratories for conducting research in such areas as aerodynamics, aging aircraft, crash dynamics, composites and advanced materials, aircraft icing, structural components, virtual reality, and computational mechanics. WSU's College of Engineering is active in a variety of research programs. The Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning conducts research at the far thresholds of disease management, and the John C. Pair Horticulture Research Center conducts turfgrass research.

Public Library Information: Wichita Public Library, 223 S. Main, Wichita, KS 67202; telephone (316)262-0611; fax (316)262-4540

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Wichita: History

A Cow Capital

The city of Wichita is named after the Wichita tribe, who settled on the site of the present-day city along the banks of the Arkansas River during the U.S. Civil War to avoid conflict with pro-Southern tribes in Oklahoma. James R. Mead and Jesse Chisholm, who was part Cherokee, opened a trading post next to the tribe's village. Chisholm, on a return trip from the Southwest where he had ventured on a trading expedition, was traveling through a rain storm, and the wheels of his wagon carved deep tracks into the prairie soil. Thus the famous Chisholm Trail was blazed, and the route was used in subsequent years by cattlemen driving cattle to their eventual market destinations.

After the forced relocation of the Wichita tribe to Oklahoma in 1867, the Mead trading post became a center of commerce. As Texas cattlemen drove their longhorn steer up the Chisholm Trail to Abilene, the settlement around the trading post provided a stop on the way. The "first and last chance saloon" was opened there for thirsty cowboys. The settlement, named Wichita, was platted in 1870 and incorporated in 1871. When rail transport reached the town in 1872 and 350,000 cattle were driven in from the grazing ranges, Wichita became the "cow capital" of eastern Kansas. Wichita was a rough place despite signs posted at the corporation limits that warned visitors to check their guns before entering town.

Exit Cattle; Enter Wheat, Oil, and Airplanes

Boom times lasted until 1880, when the Chisholm Trail was blocked by barbed-wire fences protecting land planted with wheat, barring drivers from bringing their cattle to Wichita. Businessmen who made their livelihood from cattle relocated to Dodge City, and Wichita land values temporarily tumbled. But revenues from grain quickly outdistanced cattle when farmers brought their harvest to Wichita, transforming the city into a trading and milling center. Whereas the cattle business had supported dance halls and gambling houses, the wheat industry brought the civilizing forces of churches and schools.

Wichita's population steadily increased in the twentieth century, and new forms of wealth and business opportunity emerged. A major oil deposit discovered in Butler County in 1915 earned the nickname "door-step pool" because of its proximity to the city limits. Wichita's first airplane was manufactured the following year, and during the 1920s the city became known as the "Air Capital of America" in recognition of the number of airplane factories located there. By 1929 Wichita produced a quarter of all commercial aircraft in the United States. The aviation industry played an increased role in the city during World War II, and even more so after the establishment of McConnell Air Force Base in 1951. Beech Aircraft Corp. and Learjet Inc. were founded in Wichita, and such heavy-weights as the Boeing Co., Bombardier Inc., Cessna Aircraft Co., and Raytheon Co. established major facilities in the city. The population explosion that grew from the aviation industry attracted other types of companies. Two big names in the fast-food industryPizza Hut Inc. and White Castle System Inc.were both founded in Wichita. By the turn of the century the city was headquarters for the Coleman Co. and Koch Industries Inc.

An All-American City

Three-time winner (since 1962) of the All American City award, Wichita's residents value the small-town atmosphere with modern-city amenities afforded them. A low crime rate, a nationally-recognized school system, low cost of living, ample opportunities for culture and recreation, and revitalized downtown are part of Wichita's success.

Historical Information: Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum, 204 S. Main, Wichita, KS 67202; telephone (316)265-9314; fax (316)265-9319

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Wichita: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 442,000

1990: 485,270

2000: 545,220

Percent change, 19902000: 12.4%

U.S. rank in 1980: 75th

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 77th

City Residents

1980: 279,838

1990: 304,017

2000: 344,284

2003 estimate: 354,617

Percent change, 19902000: 13.2%

U.S. rank in 1980: 51st

U.S. rank in 1990: 51st (State rank: 1st)

U.S. rank in 2000: 59th (State rank: 1st)

Density: 2,536.1 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 258,900

Black or African American: 39,325

American Indian and Alaska Native: 3,986

Asian: 13,647

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 198

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 33,112

Other: 17,566

Percent of residents born in state: 59.9% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 27,524

Population 5 to 9 years old: 26,725

Population 10 to 14 years old: 24,688

Population 15 to 19 years old: 23,767

Population 20 to 24 years old: 25,565

Population 25 to 34 years old: 51,619

Population 35 to 44 years old: 53,980

Population 45 to 54 years old: 44,035

Population 55 to 59 years old: 14,377

Population 60 to 64 years old: 11,113

Population 65 to 74 years old: 20,616

Population 75 to 84 years old: 15,297

Population 85 years and older: 4,978

Median age: 33.4 years

Births (Sedgwick County, 2003)

Total number: 7,568

Deaths (Sedgwick County, 2003)

Total number: 3,834 (of which, 46 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $20,647

Median household income: $39,939

Total households: 139,127

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 12,440

$10,000 to $14,999: 8,713

$15,000 to $24,999: 19,750

$25,000 to $34,999: 20,164

$35,000 to $49,999: 24,812

$50,000 to $74,999: 28,464

$75,000 to $99,999: 13,287

$100,000 to $149,999: 7,887

$150,000 to $199,999: 1,670

$200,000 or more: 1,940

Percent of families below poverty level: 8.4% (46.4% of which were female householder families with related children under 5)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 24,104

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Wichita: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Wichita's daily newspaper is the morning Wichita Eagle. The Wichita Business Journal is the city's weekly business newspaper. Special-interest newspapers and magazines published in Wichita focus on a variety of topics, such as business and economics, aging, antiques and art collectibles, aviation for farmers, shopping news, and community affairs. Feist Publications, publisher of Yellow Book directories, maintains an office in Wichita, and ASR Philanthropic Publishing, producer of books, newsletters, and brochures for fundraising and philanthropic organizations, are headquartered there. Other publications produced in the city include Wichita Family Magazine, Wichita Kids Newspaper, and Wichita Register Magazine.

Television and Radio

Six television stations are based in Wichita; cable service is available. Eleven AM and FM radio stations serve the Wichita metropolitan area with music, news, information, and public interest features.

Media Information: Wichita Eagle, 825 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67201; telephone (316)268-6000

Wichita Online

City of Wichita home page. Available www.wichitagov.org

Greater Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau. Available www.visitwichita.com

Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition. Available www.gwedc.org

Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce. Available www.wichitakansas.org

Wichita Business Journal. Available wichita.bizjournals.com/wichita

Wichita Eagle. Available www.kansas.com/mld/kansas

Wichita Public Library. Available www.wichita.lib.ks.us

Wichita Public Schools. Available www.usd259.com

Selected Bibliography

Beattie, Robert, Nightmare in Wichita: The Hunt for the BTK Strangler (New York, NY: New American Library, 2005)

Price, Jay M., Wichita's Legacy of Flight (Chicago, IL: Arcadia Publishing, 2003)

Tanner, Beccy, Bear Grease, Builders and Bandits: The Men and Women of Wichita's Past (Wichita, KS: Wichita Eagle & Beacon Publishing, 1991)

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Wichita: Introduction
Wichita: Geography and Climate
Wichita: History
Wichita: Population Profile
Wichita: Municipal Government
Wichita: Economy
Wichita: Education and Research
Wichita: Health Care
Wichita: Recreation
Wichita: Convention Facilities
Wichita: Transportation
Wichita: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1868 (incorporated, 1871)

Head Official: Mayor Carlos Mayans (since 2003)

City Population

1980: 279,838

1990: 304,017

2000: 344,284

2003 estimate: 354,617

Percent change, 19902000: 13.2%

U.S. rank in 1980: 51st

U.S. rank in 1990: 51st (State rank: 1st)

U.S. rank in 2000: 59th (State rank: 1st)

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 442,000

1990: 485,270

2000: 545,220

Percent change, 19902000: 12.4%

U.S. rank in 1980: 75th

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 77th

Area: 138.93 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 1,300 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 56.4° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 14.48 inches of rain, 15.9 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Services, manufacturing, trade

Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (February 2005)

Per Capita Income: $20,647 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 24,104

Major Colleges and Universities: Wichita State University; Friends University; Newman University; University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita

Daily Newspaper: Wichita Eagle

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Wichita: Health Care

Wichita is a regional center for medical treatment and referral as well as training and research, employing more than 28,000 health care professionals. The region supports 19 acute care and specialty hospitals with approximately 3,000 beds, as well as more than 50 nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Many medical workers and allied staff are educated at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, which maintains training programs at three local hospitals. The Kansas Health Foundation, based in Wichita, provides funding in the areas of children's health, leadership, and public health.

Wesley Medical Center, a Level I trauma center and the largest emergency department in the state, provides such services as cancer care, child development, radiosurgery, low vision rehabilitation, senior behavioral health, and treatment of sleep disorders. The Robert J. Dole Department of Veterans Affairs Medical & Regional Office, one of the largest in the nation, treats more than 80,000 outpatients each year. Wesley Medical Center, with 504 beds, provides general medical and surgical care as well as cardiology, neurology, pediatric, and trauma care. Via Christi Health System, a teaching institution affiliated with the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, provides the largest integrated network of health care providers in Kansas, with such specialized services as gerontology, diabetes, epilepsy, and orthopedics. Other Wichita hospitals include Galichia Heart Hospital, Kansas Heart Hospital, Kansas Surgery & Recovery Center, Select Specialty Hospital of Wichita, Wesley Rehabilitation Hospital, and Kansas Spine Hospital, which opened in 2004.

Health Care Information: Via Christi Regional Medical Center, 929 N. St. Francis St., Wichita, KS 67214; telephone (316)268-5000

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Wichita: Geography and Climate

Wichita is located on the Arkansas River in the Central Great Plains. The collision of moist air from the Gulf of Mexico with cold air from the Arctic produces a wide range of weather in the Wichita area. Summers, which are generally warm and humid, can often be hot and dry; winters are mild, though cold periods are not infrequent. Temperature variations are extreme, reaching above 110 degrees in the summer and below negative 20 degrees in the winter. Spring and summer thunderstorms can be severe, accompanied by heavy rain, hail, strong winds, and tornadoes. Protection against floods is provided by the Wichita-Valley Center Flood Control Project.

Area: 138.93 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 1,300 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 30.2° F; July, 81.0° F; annual average, 56.4° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 14.48 inches of rain, 15.9 inches of snow

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Wichita: Transportation

Approaching the City

Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, a 12-minute drive from downtown, is the destination for most air travelers to Wichita. Thirteen commercial carriers provide 47 daily flights from most cities throughout the United States. In 2004 nearly 1.5 million passengers passed through Mid-Continent, breaking the airport's record. Colonel James Jabara Airport is a general aviation facility accommodating jets and light planes. Amtrak provides passenger rail service 25 miles north of Wichita at Newton, and Greyhound Trailways brings buses into Wichita.

A network of interstate, federal, and state highways links Wichita with the East and West Coasts as well as the Canadian and Mexican borders. Interstates I-35 and I-135 pass directly through metropolitan Wichita, connecting the city with I-40, I-44, and I-70. Major U.S. highways are 54 and 81; state routes include K-42, K-2, K-15, K-254, K-96, and the Kansas Turnpike.

Traveling in the City

Public bus transportation on a fleet of modern, chairlift-equipped buses is operated by Wichita Transit. Nineteenth-century-style streetcars on the Discover Historic Wichita Trolley Tour connect major downtown hotels, Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, Century II Convention Center, and the Old Town area.