16 Pros and Cons of Living in Topeka, KS

Updated On October 17, 2023

Topeka is the capital of Kansas.

Topeka is the epic center for agriculture and is a huge industrial center.

Topeka has a lot to offer residents that live here including a wonderful downtown area and much more.

Topeka is surrounded by the Kansas River.

Besides the good things about living in Topeka, KS, there are several cons of living here as well.

Continue reading to learn about some of these pros and cons, so you can determine whether Topeka is the perfect match for you.

Topeka, KS
Topeka, KS

Pros of Living in Topeka, KS

1. Affordable Town to Live in

Factoring in the cost of living will help you decide whether Topeka is the most ideal place for you to live in.

Fortunately, the cost of living in Topeka, KS is very affordable.

The cost index in Topeka is 79/100.

This means that your monthly bills will be 21% cheaper if you choose to live here.

This is a huge saving and one of the most considerable reasons why you should move to Topeka.

2. Low Housing Costs

Sometimes, you may run into a town that has low housing costs.

But, this isn’t typical.

The good news is that Topeka, KS has very low housing costs.

The housing cost index in Topeka is 48/100, which is a little bit more than 50% below the national average.

Additionally, the housing cost index is also cheaper than the average in the rest of the state.

Because of these low costs, many residents flock to Topeka.

3. Livable City

Even though Topeka doesn’t have many attractions, it’s still considered a highly livable city.

Topeka, KS ranks number 29 for the best city to buy a house in the United States.

Topeka is a great place to raise a family.

Furthermore, Topeka has the following grades:

  • Jobs (B)
  • Perfect for Families (B-)
  • Public Schools (B-)
  • Diversity (A)
  • Cost of Living (A)
  • Weather (B)
  • Housing (B)

4. High-Quality Public School System

Being able to ensure your kids receive high-quality education should be one of your biggest priorities when moving to a new town.

Topeka, KS offers many of these high-quality schools.

For example, Washburn Rural Middle School ranks number 30 for best middle schools and Washburn Rural High School ranks number 17 for the best public high school.

The good news is that you will feel confident knowing that your kids are receiving a good education in the city.

5. Short Commute Times

For those who dread commuting to work in traffic, you’ll be happy to know that Topeka’s commute times are relatively short.

On average, commute times can be about 17 minutes when traveling one way.

This means that you can save nearly 10 minutes of commute time just by living in Topeka.

When you do the math, it adds up to almost two hours each week.

6. Unemployment Rates Are Low

Another perk about living in Topeka is that you won’t have any problems finding employment, thanks to the low unemployment rate here.

As of now, there are more than 5,820 job openings, with new ones consistently being added.

Topeka is well known for its low unemployment rate of 3%.

Some of the biggest employers in Topeka include The State of Kansas, Topeka Unified School District, and Stormont-Vail Healthcare.

Furthermore, you will always see help-wanted signs throughout the city.

7. Excellent Food Options

Not all cities across America have great food.

Fortunately, Topeka does have excellent food options.

There are plenty of options for dining.

Topeka has some of the biggest chain restaurants located here.

Additionally, they have several locally owned restaurants including Iron Rail Brewery, Bobo’s The Shack, North Star Steakhouse, Pizza Pub, PT’s Coffee, Taco Villa, and The Burger Stand.

8. Plenty of Bike/Walking Trails

If you’re into biking, walking, and hiking, you’ll be glad to know that Topeka has more than 20 options to choose from to do just that.

For example, there are almost 28 miles of surface trails and over 30 miles of paved trails.

Lake Shawnee Trail is a favorite among many of the residents living here.

You can also check out their website to get more information about the many trail options they offer.

Cons of Living in Topeka, KS

1. Limited Attractions

Even though Topeka is the capital of Kansas, there aren’t that many attractions here.

However, Topeka still has more to offer compared to other cities of similar size.

Some of the main attractions in Topeka are the Topeka Zoo, the Kansas Statehouse, and the Evel Knievel Museum.

Furthermore, downtown Topeka has a lot to offer residents including restaurants and shops.

2. Cold and Long Winters

Snow could be an issue for you if you’re not a fan of this type of weather.

Topeka sees a lot of cold and snowy weather in the months between November and April.

December through February sees the coldest temperatures.

During these months, the city is overall frozen.

And even though snowfall amounts aren’t huge in Topeka, they do see it frequently.

3. High Tornado Risk

Topeka is located right within Tornado Alley.

Unfortunately, Topeka has been hit by many tornadoes, with one of the most notable being in 1966.

This tornado killed 17 people and injured hundreds.

Due to the location of Topeka, it’s at a high risk of seeing Tornadoes during the warmer months.

They have seen more than 100 tornadoes in the past.

So, if you’re considering moving here, this is definitely something you should keep in mind when looking for a home.

4. Flat Land

Topeka, and Kansas in general is known for being flat.

There aren’t any hills or mountains here in Topeka.

However, many people who move here may find this to their advantage if they enjoy hiking and walking.

It also allows you to see tornadoes from a distance, which can help your family be more prepared.

However, the downside to it being so flat is that it can feel boring and less appealing.

If you are looking for more of a challenge while hiking, this isn’t something you’ll find here.

5. Low Minimum Wage

Overall, Topeka has bad pay rates and a meager minimum wage.

The minimum wage in Topeka stands at $7.25 per hour.

The average hourly wage is $17.51 per hour.

However, it may be a struggle to get enough funds to pay for necessary expenses.

If you’re considering moving here, the best thing to do is find employment that you know you’ll be able to survive off of.

6. Poorly Maintained Roads

The city roads in Topeka have not and are not properly maintained.

There’s a lot of work that must be done.

As of now, the roads were only rated as fair to nearly passable.

If you decide to move to Topeka, you must be okay with the driving conditions here, with little hope of fixing them.

7. No Major League Teams

Another downside of living in Topeka is that there aren’t any big sports teams.

However, the only major sports teams they have are the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs.

But, both of these teams border the state of Missouri.

This can be a huge inconvenience for those looking to travel to Kansas City just to watch a game.

Additionally, Topeka has a minor league hockey team and a football team.

8. Not a Walkable City

Topeka lacks public transportation and walkability overall.

Topeka’s walk score is 37, which is considered terrible.

On average, a good walk score is 70.

This means that if you do decide to relocate to Topeka, you must have a vehicle.

This also means you must add gas, repairs, and insurance to your budget.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a town where you can get up and walk to the store.

Topeka, KS
Topeka, KS

Pros and Cons of Living in Topeka, KS – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Topeka, KSCons of Living in Topeka, KS
1. Affordable Town to Live in1. Limited Attractions
2. Low Housing Costs2. Cold and Long Winters
3. Livable City3. High Tornado Risk
4. High-Quality Public School System4. Flat Land
5. Short Commute Times5. Low Minimum Wage
6. Unemployment Rates Are Low6. Poorly Maintained Roads
7. Excellent Food Options7. No Major League Teams
8. Plenty of Bike/Walking Trails8. Not a Walkable City

Topeka Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Topeka Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Overall, is Topeka, KS a good place to live?

Yes, Topeka is a great place to live.

Topeka has a gorgeous downtown area and even a motorsports complex for residents to enjoy.

Additionally, Topeka has a thriving economy.

Topeka is surrounded by the Kansas River in addition to many prairies.

If you’re thinking about raising a family here, this is a great place to do so.

Did Topeka, KS have issues with crime in the past?

As with any other city located in America, Topeka has had its fair share of crime.

However, crime was bad in the 90s.

Currently, this isn’t the case.

Following the 90s, Topeka continued to break violent crime records.

Surrounding cities experienced an increase in crime rates since 2000, while Topeka’s decreased.

Between the years of 2007 and 2008, crime dropped 18 percent in Topeka.

What is the average household income in Topeka?

The average household income in Topeka, KS is $67,504.

Additionally, the median household income is $50,870.

Overall, 10.5% of people are living below the poverty level in Topeka, and -0.7% are living above the poverty level.

What are some of the most popular food dishes in Topeka?

Some foods that Topeka is well-known for include:

  • Cast Iron Pan Pizza
  • Lamb and Beef
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Soup and Chili
  • Smoked St. Louis-Style Ribs
  • Sauces and Spreads

Does Topeka have a good art scene?

Fortunately, Topeka is full of local artists and beautiful art.

Topeka is also home to various art galleries such as the Community Arts Center and the Mulvane Art Museum.

Topeka also hosts the First Friday Art & Chocolate Walk, and the First Friday Art Walk.

So, if you’re an artsy person, you’ll enjoy knowing that Topeka has a vibrant art scene.

1 Comment on 16 Pros and Cons of Living in Topeka, KS

  1. Topeka, KS is an affordable town with low housing costs and a high-quality public school system; however, it has limited attractions, cold winters, and a high tornado risk.

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