What is it like to live in Wichita, KS?
I enjoyed living in Wichita from 2010–2014 (5 years+ total). One of the things I enjoyed the most about it was that it had a kind of big city feel without being a big city. And if you even need to take the next step up to big city experiences, you are only 3 hours away from both Kansas City and Oklahoma City, both of which have a lot of neat things to do as well.
Infrastructure: The city hardly has any traffic, though there are a couple specific exits that bind up during rush hour. But you are never more than 25 minutes from anywhere because of a relatively efficient interstate/belt route system. There are sufficient numbers of schools and hospitals, and the health care system actually has very good outcomes. Contrary to a comment elsewhere, I found that Wichita had a lot of variety in the type of food, and outside of fast food, wasn’t really franchise-heavy except for local franchises. I have lived and travelled all over the world and some of my favourite places to eat are in Wichita, Kansas. There are bowling alleys, movie theatres, plenty of malls, speciality stores, eateries, museums, theatre/playhouses, concert halls, activities, etc. so that you won’t be bored. My wife and I stayed busy with at least one major activity a month (operas, minor league baseball games, symphonies, play, movie, cultural festivals, exhibition, etc.).
Work/Economy: The city itself if very centered economically on the aerospace industry at large (that is why Wichita is known as the “Air Capital of the World,” so when the industry sneezes, Wichita gets a cold. Rounds of layoffs for companies like Spirit, Cessna & Beechcraft (which are now both owned by Textron), and Learjet are not uncommon, and that can have a profound impact on the economy in general. There are a couple of other large companies in the area that are not in aerospace (notably, Via Christi Health, Koch Industries, Coleman, and Cargill); Coleman and Cargill won’t grow much from where they are, and VCH as a health system will really only grow as the population in general does, and so much of the economic growth power from Wichita comes from Koch Industries, love them or hate them, and other small businesses and cottage industries.