Kansas City is a city in Jackson County, Missouri. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 441,545. The combined population of both Kansas Cities (Missouri and Kansas) is 588,411. It is the largest city and second largest metropolitan area in Missouri.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Employers
3 Geography
4 Metropolitan Area
5 Demographics
6 Parkways and Parks
7 Attractions
8 Airports
9 Sports
10 People from or who have lived in the city


The settlement began life in 1834 as a dock on the Missouri River to land supplies for Westport, initially called Westport Landing. The land surrounding the dock was bought by the recently formed Town Company in 1838. The area was renamed the Town of Kansas (after the local Kanza Indians) in 1839 and the town was incorporated by the state of Missouri as the City of Kansas on March 28, 1853. At the first municipal election in 1853 there were sixty-seven voters from a population of 2,500. In 1889, with a population of around 60,000, the city adopted a new charter and changed its name to Kansas City.

During the American Civil War there were many skirmishes between pro- and anti-slavery groups and the Battle of Westport October 21-23, 1864, where the Union army routed the Confederates.

The City was connected to the telegraph system in 1858, to the railway in 1864 (with a bridge crossing the river in 1869) and the first aircraft landed at the Municipal Airport in 1927.

The city's industry was cattle, from the 1860s it had one of the largest cattle markets in America. The industry peaked in the early 20th century. The city has a Federal Reserve Bank, as does St. Louis.

By 1915 the city had grown to 250,000 people but from then until 1940 the city was effectively run by one man, "Boss" Tom Pendergast, and "Crime and vice... became rampant". On the other hand, the city also became a center for night life where innovative jazz and blues flourished.

Harry S Truman, former U.S. president, was county judge of Jackson County, Missouri, under the Pendergast regime, and was initially regarded in his early career as a corrupt politician because of this. However, most people came to regard him as having a great deal of integrity because of his subsequent actions in various political offices.

Since the Pendergast era, the city has continued to grow, although mainly by annexation rather than natural growth; it retains some heavy industry and a significant airport.


Kansas City's largest employers are Hallmark Cards and Ford Motor Company. Kansas City also has a large pharmaceutical industry, with companies such as Bayer and Aventis Pharmaceuticals having large presences there.

In addition to Hallmark, the following major companies are headquartered in Kansas City:

  • H&R Block
  • Kansas City Southern Industries
  • Interstate Bakeries Corporation, makers of Twinkies and Wonder Bread
  • Russell Stover Candies
  • American Century Companies
  • Wolferman's, Burns & McDonnell Architects

One recent employer is also a tourist attraction: Harley-Davidson built a factory in Kansas City in 1998.


According to the
United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 823.7 km² (318.0 mi²). 812.1 km² (313.5 mi²) of it is land and 11.6 km² (4.5 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.41% water.

Metropolitan Area

Kansas City is the center of a metropolitan area spanning two states and the following counties:


As of the
census of 2000, there are 441,545 people, 183,981 households, and 107,444 families residing in the city. The population density is 543.7/km² (1,408.2/mi²). There are 202,334 housing units at an average density of 249.2/km² (645.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 60.68% White, 31.23% African American, 0.48% Native American, 1.85% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 3.21% from other races, and 2.44% from two or more races. 6.93% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 183,981 households out of which 28.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.0% are married couples living together, 16.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 41.6% are non-families. 34.1% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.35 and the average family size is 3.06.

In the city the population is spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 89.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $37,198, and the median income for a family is $46,012. Males have a median income of $35,132 versus $27,548 for females. The per capita income for the city is $20,753. 14.3% of the population and 11.1% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 20.2% are under the age of 18 and 10.5% are 65 or older.

Parkways and Parks

Kansas City is well-known for its spacious parkways and many parks. The parkway system winds its way through the city with broad, landscaped medians that include statuary and fountains. One of the best examples is Ward Parkway on the west side of the city, near the Kansas state line.

Swope Park is one of the nation's largest in-city parks, comprising over one thousand acres, and including a full-fledged zoo, two golf courses, a lake, an amphitheater, day-camp area, and numerous picnic grounds.

Kansas City has always had one of the nation's best urban forestry programs. At one time, almost all residential streets were planted with a solid canopy of American elm, so the destruction caused by Dutch elm disease was devastating, with almost all elms dying. Since then, almost all streets have been replanted with a variety of other shade trees.




People from or who have lived in the city

See also: Kansas City, Kansas