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st. louis vs. kansas city

St. Louis vs Kansas City 🆚🌇 – Pros & Cons of Living in Kansas City vs St Louis

Last Updated on: 28th February 2024, 08:37 pm

Both St. Louis and Kansas City are growing midwestern cities with ample opportunity for anybody interested in relocating to “Fly-Over Country.”  When deciding between St. Louis vs. Kansas City, there are many things to consider and pros and cons of living in each city.  Missouri is one of the most beautiful states in the country.  With impressive views of The Ozarks, endless prairies, and Rock Lake, Missouri has a growing tourism rate that feeds into the local economy.  St. Louis draws people in with the Blues hockey team, The Gateway Arch, and the Cardinals baseball team – but compare that to Kansas City where they are home to the Chiefs football team, the World War 1 museum, and the Royals baseball team. St. Louis is known for art and finance while Kansas City is known for some of the best local music and barbeque food in the country.  Both cities have their own draws and each are unique and beautiful in their own right.

Pros & Cons of Living in St. Louis vs Kansas City

Living in each city has its own distinctive list of advantages and disadvantages  This should only be viewed as a guide and rough overview of St. Louis pros and cons compared to Kansas City pros and cons:

Pros of Living in St. Louis

  • Modest cost of living
  • Exposure to all four of the different seasons
  • Ample racial and ethnic diversity
  • Plenty of historic sites to see
  • Terrific higher education options

Cons of Living in St. Louis

  • Poor public transportation
  • Household incomes are below the national average
  • Crime rates are above the national average
  • Summer weather can be uncomfortable

Pros of Living in Kansas City

  • Booming economy
  • Intelligent street design leading to no traffic congestion
  • Choice between two different states (⅓ city in Kansas, ⅔ in Missouri)
  • Modest cost of living
  • Ample educational recreation like museums

Cons of Living in Kansas City

  • Higher crime rates than national average
  • Limited public transportation
  • Mob influence on city on-goings
  • Higher taxes than most midwestern cities

Population & Demographics of St. Louis vs Kansas City

Though the two cities aren’t far apart, as it’s only about 249 miles from St. Louis to Kansas City, they couldn’t be more different when it comes to population and demographics.  St. Louis has a population of just over 2.8 million residents in just 66 square miles of land, as of the last census.  Kansas City boasts 2.1 million residents, but the population is much more spread out with 320 square miles composing the city limit.  St. Louis has 20% more people in just 20% of the area that Kansas City has!

Major Demographics

  • St. Louis residents are 71% caucasian, 17% African American, 3% Asian, 3% Hispanic
  • Kansas City residents are 70% caucasian, 12% African American, 3% Asian, 10% hispanic
  • St. Louis median age is 40 years old
  • Kansas City median age is 37 years old
  • St. Louis average household income is $70,000
  • Kansas City average household income is $74,000
  • St. Louis median home value is $215,000
  • Kansas City median home value is $247,000

The Cost of Living St. Louis vs Kansas City

Based on the demographics, you’d expect the cost of living to be pretty similar between Kansas City vs. St. Louis.  That’s not really the case though.  Kansas City, though having slightly higher home values and average career salaries than St. Louis, also has significantly higher taxes that kind of negate the benefits of having superior compensation at work.  If you consult the widely accepted Family Budget Calculator, you’ll find that Kansas City costs about 10% more to reside in comfortably than St. Louis does for the US average family of four. 

Sales tax is a good indicator of cost of living.  The higher the sales tax, the higher the cost of living.  St. Louis runs a sales tax of just 4.22% while Kansas City, most of it anyway, runs a tax rate of 6.5%.  That’s largely the difference between living in Missouri versus residing in Kansas.  The property tax rate in St. Louis is just 2.29% while Kansas City residents pay 2.69%.  These minor differences increase the cost of living by more than 10% but come with additional benefits, like increased safety. 

Additional Considerations: Kansas City vs St Louis

Crime Rates in St. Louis Compared to Kansas City

We know that the cost of living in Kansas City is about 10% higher than in St. Louis.  It turns out that extra tax collection might actually go to good use.  Kansas City is thought to be considerably safer than St. Louis.  Actually, compared to St. Louis, Kansas City is downright safe.

  • St. Louis crimes per 1,000 residents: 70 (reported from
  • Kansas City crimes per 1,000 residents: 57 (reported from
  • St. Louis violent crimes per 1,000 residents: 15
  • Kansas City violent crimes per 1,000 residents: 15
  • St. Louis property crimes per 1,000 residents: 55
  • Kansas City property crimes per 1,000 residents: 43

St. Louis police department workforce is made up of nearly 400 civilian employees and just slightly over 1,000 sworn officers. 

Things to Do & Nightlife in St. Louis vs. Kansas City

If you’re comparing cities to find a new place to live chances are having access to entertainment will be on the list! St. Louis and Kansas City are both major cities with an active nightlife and plenty of variety when it comes to places to eat.  All you have to do is a quick Google search to find an endless amount of restaurants of all kinds.  Delivery, ethnic eateries, bars, and even restaurants with servers that will insult you while you eat!  Kansas City has a few more historical places to visit while St. Louis has some of the best nightlife in the midwest.  

Climate/Weather in St. Louis vs Kansas City

The climate and weather is pretty much exactly the same for the two cities!  Both enjoy highs in the 90 degree range come mid July, while both have to endure lows of below 20 in the bleak mid-winter.  Rainy season lasts from March to August with daily precipitation in the 40% chance range, which can both be an advantage and drawback.  You don’t need to worry about droughts but it can be tough to plan a summer barbecue far ahead of time!

Traffic & Public Transportation in St. Louis Compared to Kansas City

St. Louis has some of the worst public transportation issues in the entire midwest.  This really isn’t a problem if you can walk to work or to the grocery store.  It’s also not really a problem if you own your own set of wheels – but if you’re planning to depend on public transportation, Kansas City might be a slightly better option. In Kansas City, you might be able to catch the city-provided bus and make it to your job or to school, but you could be waiting at the bus stop for far longer than you’d like.  Alternatively, you could arrive at your destination long before you need to be there.  Such is life for those relying on public transit in a city with so much land.  If you have your car in either city, you won’t ever have to wait for traffic.

Jobs – The Economy of St. Louis vs. Kansas City

What do you do?  The type of work you do can really matter and make a difference regarding where you’d like to live.  St. Louis has some of the biggest banks and investment firms in the entire country.  These massive financial institutions require hundreds to thousands of professionals with experience in banking, finance, accounting and the stock market while Kansas City is home to huge tech companies like EPAM, Cisco, and Mythical Games.  Both economies are doing well but Kansas City has seen a massive increase in both salary compensation and tech job demands.  Entrepreneurs are likely to be successful opening a business in either city.

St. Louis vs. Kansas City: Where Are You Moving?

Where you ultimately decide to live is probably going to depend on your area of expertise.  The school systems in both cities are really similar.  The cost of living and the level of crime really isn’t that different.  If you’re a finance pro and you’re looking for something that will allow you to hone and develop your skills in economics to better provide for your family, you’re probably better off in St. Louis.  If you’re a tech nerd and you want to help a software or cutting edge device make a difference in the world, you’re going to want to head to Kansas City.  Both cities will afford you great opportunities for personal growth while allowing your children to thrive and will give you a list of local activities to enjoy on the weekends.

St. Louis to Kansas City Distance

The nice thing about the two cities is that they’re only 249 miles apart from one another. That might seem like a long distance, but it’s really not if you feel like you’ve made the wrong decision and you’d like to give the alternative a shot. The best route from one of the cities to the other is straight down route 70. Columbus is just about the halfway point – it’s a great place to stop for a rest and a bite to eat. 125 miles from Kansas City and 124 miles from St. Louis – it couldn’t get any more perfect than that! Sometimes, people decide to live in Columbia, MO and commute to one, the other, or both to create the most for themselves and their families!

There are opportunities and obstacles in both St. Louis and Kansas City, but Federal Companies is intimately familiar with each of the cities. Having facilities in St. Louis, Chicago, and in central Illinois has afforded the professionals at Federal ample exposure to both of these beautiful midwestern cities. It doesn’t matter whether you choose to move to St. Louis or to reside in Kansas City. The licensed and insured movers at Federal Companies have been helping people relocate their homes and businesses for 110 years! Give us a call at 800-747-4100 or feel free to visit the website and fill out the online form to get connected with us today!


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