|— City —|
|Nickname(s): The Air Capital Of The World, ICT, Dub-K|
|• Mayor||Carl Brewer|
|• City Manager||Robert Layton|
|• City||163.59 sq mi (423.70 km2)|
|• Land||159.29 sq mi (412.56 km2)|
|• Water||4.30 sq mi (11.14 km2)|
|Elevation||1,299 ft (396 m)|
|• Estimate (2011)||384,445|
|• Density||2,400.5/sq mi (926.8/km2)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP Codes||67201-67221, 67223, 67226-67228, 67230, 67232, 67235, 67260, 67275-67278|
|GNIS feature ID||0473862|
Wichita pron.: // WICH-ə-taw is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas. According to the 2011 United States Census Bureau estimate, the city population was 384,445. Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River, Wichita is the county seat of Sedgwick County and the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area. As of 2011, the metro area had a population of 630,721; the Wichita-Winfield combined statistical area (CSA) population was 661,798.
The city was incorporated in 1870, based on the success of businessmen who came to hunt and trade with native populations. Wichita's position on the Chisholm Trail made it a destination for cattle drives heading north to access railroads to eastern markets. 
From the early to late 20th century, aircraft pioneers such as Clyde Cessna, "Matty" Laird, Lloyd Stearman Walter Beech, Al Mooney and Bill Lear began aircraft-manufacturing enterprises that would lead to Wichita becoming the nation's leading city in numbers of aircraft produced, and its nicknaming as the Air Capital of the World. The aircraft corporations E. M. Laird Aviation Company (the nation's first successful commercial airplane manufacturer), Travel Air (started by Beech, Stearman and Cessna), Stearman, Cessna, Beechcraft and Mooney were all founded in Wichita between 1920 and early 1932.. By 1931, Boeing (of Seattle, Washington) had absorbed Stearman, creating "Boeing-Wichita", which would eventually grow to become Kansas' largest employer. 
Today, Cessna Aircraft Co. (the world's highest-volume airplane manufacturer) and Beechcraft remain based in Wichita, along with Learjet and Boeing's chief subassembly supplier, Spirit AeroSystems. Both Airbus and Boeing maintain a workforce in Wichita, and Bombardier (parent company of Learjet) has other divisions in Wichita as well. Over 50 other aviation businesses operate in the Wichita MSA, as well dozens of suppliers and subcontractors to the local aircraft manufacturers. In total, Wichita and its companies have manufactured an estimated 250,000 aircraft since Clyde Cessna's first Wichita-built aircraft in 1916.   
In 2007, Wichita built 977 aircraft, ranging from single-engine light aircraft to the world's fastest civiilian jet; one-fifth of the civilian aircraft produced in United States that year, plus numerous small military aircraft.  
A legacy of the early 20th-Century oil boom in neighboring Butler County, Kansas, Wichita became a major oil town, with dozens of oil exploration companies and support enterprises. Most famous of these was Koch Industries, today a global natural-resources empire, and one of America's two largest privately held companies. still headquartered in Wichita. The city was also at one time the headquarters of the former Derby Oil Company, which was purchased by Coastal Corporation in 1988.
An area cultural center, Wichita is home to Intrust Bank Arena as well as numerous nightclubs, restaurants, shopping centers, museums and parks. Several universities are in Wichita, the largest being Wichita State University with an enrollment of 15,000 students. In July 2006, CNN/Money and Money magazine ranked Wichita 9th on its list of the 10 best U.S. big cities in which to live. In 2008, MSN Real Estate ranked Wichita 1st on its list of most affordable cities. Wichita was also named most "Uniquely American" city by Newsmax Magazine.
Prehistory and exploration 
The site at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers has served as a trading center and meeting place for nomadic hunting people for at least 11,000 years. Human habitation in the Wichita area has been dated, in archeological digs, as far back as 3,000 B.C.
The area was visited by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1541, while he was in search of the fabulous "cities of gold". While there, he encountered a group of Indians whom he called Quiviras and who have been identified by archaeological and historical studies as Wichita Indians. By 1719, these people had moved south to Oklahoma, where they met French traders.
Pioneer Traders & Boosters 
The first permanent settlement in Wichita was a collection of grass houses inhabited by the Wichita Indians in 1863. They had moved back to Wichita from Oklahoma during the American Civil War because of their pro-Union sentiments.
Pioneer trader Jesse Chisholm -- half-white, half-Native American, illterate but speaking multiple Indian languages -- established a trading post at the site in the 1860s, and traded cattle and goods with the Wichita Indians at points south along a trail from Wichita into present-day Oklahoma (and eventually into Texas) that became known as the Chisholm Trail, soon legendary in Western lore.
Chisholm was soon exclipsed in the area by three astute businessmen: commercial buffalo hunters and traders Jamres R. Mead (of Iowa), William Greiffenstein (a German immigrant merchant), and Buffalo Bill Mathewson (not to be confused with Buffalo Bill Cody); these men led the initial commercial development of the area, becoming key landowners of what became the city of Wichita.
Hunters, farmers and Indians in the area all turned to the newborn tiny settlement as a principal trading center for the area, while Wichita's entrepreneurs began an aggressive sales campaign to lure more settlers (their future customers and tenants) to the area, with the "boosterism" typical of successful early prairie settlements.
The city, on the east bank of the Arkansas river, was officially incorporated in 1870. Among the signatories on the town charter was a lone woman, the town laundry operator, Catherine "The Widow" McCarty, whose elder teenage son, after leaving Wichita, would become the infamous, short-lived gunman,Billy the Kid.
Wichita's position on the Chisholm Trail made it a destination for cattle drives headed north to access railroads to eastern markets. As a result, Wichita became a railhead destination for cattle drives from Texas and other south-western points, from whence it has derived its nickname "Cowtown." Wichita's neighboring town on the opposite (west) bank of the Arkansas river, Delano, a village of saloons and brothels, had a particular reputation for lawlessness, largely accommodating the rough, visiting cattlemen. The Wichita/Delano community gained a wild reputation, however, the east (Wichita) side of the river was kept more civil, thanks to numerous well-known lawmen who passed through, employed to help keep the rowdy cowboys in line. Among those was Wyatt Earp.
Following the incorporation of the city in 1870, rapid immigration resulted in a land boom involving speculation into the late 1880s. Wichita annexed neighboring Delano in 1880. By 1890, Wichita had become the third largest city in the state (behind Kansas City and Topeka), with a population of nearly 24,000. After the boom the city suffered from 15 years of comparative depression and slow growth. An island in the middle of the Arkansas River, named Ackerman Island, was home to an amusement park and a dance pavilion. The island was connected to the West Bank of the river through a Work Projects Administration (WPA) project in the 1930s. Wichita reached national fame in 1900 when Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) member Carrie Nation decided to carry her crusade against alcohol to Wichita. On December 27 of that year she entered the Carey House bar in downtown Wichita and smashed the place with a rock and a pool ball. Although she had visited all the bars in Wichita the night before, demanding that they close their doors, the John Noble painting Cleopatra at the Roman Bath in the Carey House had drawn her particular wrath.
"The Air Capital of the World" 
In the 20th century, aircraft pioneers such as Clyde Cessna and Walter Beech began projects that led to Wichita's establishment as the "Air Capital of the World". The aircraft corporations Stearman, Cessna, Mooney, and Beechcraft were all founded in Wichita in the late 1920s and early 1930s.   
In 1914 and 1915, oil was discovered nearby and Wichita became a major oil center. The money derived from oil allowed local entrepreneurs to invest in a nascent airplane industry. In 1917 the Cessna Comet became the first aircraft to be built in Wichita.   
In 1920, oilmen Jacob M. "Jake" Mollendick and Billy Burke invited young Chicago barnstormer and aircraft builder Emil Matthew "Matty" Laird to come to Wichita to build his new airplane design, backed by their money. The Laird Swallow became an instant success, the first successful "commercial" airplane manufactured in the United States; Laird built 43 of them between 1920 and 1923. When Matty Laird returned to Chicago, the Wichita enterprise was renamed Swallow Airplane Company.
Lloyd Stearman and Walter Beech were both employees of the Swallow Company, but in January 1925 they left Swallow and teamed up with Clyde Cessna to form Travel Air. Stearman left Travel Air in 1926 to start Stearman Aircraft in Venice, California, and Cessna quit in January 1927 to start Cessna. In 1927 Stearman would relocate his factory back to Wichita.    
This varied aircraft industry, along with Wichita becoming a test center for new aviation, established Wichita as the "Air Capital". The title was more or less officially accorded to Wichita in 1929 (for 1928 production), by the American airplane manufacturers' national trade association, then known as the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce. 
Travel Air, with Walter Beech at the helm, grew to over 600 employees and operated from a huge factory complex constructed a few miles outside the city from 1927 to 1929. Due to so many employees working at such a large complex, it was dubbed "Travel Air City" by Wichita residents. The company merged with the huge Curtiss-Wright Corporation in the Roaring Twenties' heyday of company buyouts and takeovers just two months before the Stock Market crash in 1929. Workers were laid off by the hundreds during 1930 and 1931 and by the fall of 1932, the remaining Travel Air employees were let go, the equipment was sold, and the entire Travel Air plant sat empty.
In March 1932, Beech quit the Curtis-Wright Corporation to form Beech Aircraft, along with his wife Olive Ann, and hired Ted Wells as his chief engineer. The first few "Beechcraft" were built in the vacant Cessna Aircraft plant, which had also closed during the depression; Beech later leased and then bought the Travel Air plant from Curtiss-Wright and moved his factory to this plant. Beech's first aircraft, the Model 17 (later dubbed the "Staggerwing"), was first flown on November 5, 1932. Nearly 100 Staggerwings are still in existence, many in flying condition. However, the aircraft that would propel the small company into a huge corporation was the Model 18 "Twin Beech", of which thousands were built from 1937 to 1969—the longest continuously produced aircraft in the world when production ended.
Staggerwing production ended in 1946, replaced by general aviation's first successful, fully modern light aircraft, the V-tailed, four-seat, single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza). Approximately 750 were built and sold in the first year, despite a recession and a devastating aviation industry shakeout. In various forms, the Bonanza has now become the world's longest continuously produced aircraft, still in production in a straight-tailed, six-seat version. Other models evolved from the Bonanza, ultimately culminating in the twin-turboprop Beechcraft King Air and Beechcraft Super King Air, the world's most popular turbine-powered business aircraft. The Beech line added imported business jets from Britain and Japan, a military trainer from Switzerland, and also produced military drones. On February 8, 1980, Beech Aircraft Corporation was purchased by the Raytheon Corporation and later sold to Onex Corp., which renamed it Hawker Beechcraft. Major problems followed both takeovers, including troubled developments of the advanced business turboprop Beechcraft Starship and jets, and by late 2012 / early 2013 the company entered bankruptcy proceedings—emerging without its troubled business-jet line, as Beechcraft Corp., focused solely on its popular line of propeller-driven aircraft and military drones.
After the 1929 stockmarket crash, Stearman and Boeing were acquired by United Aircraft and Transport Corporation (UATC). In 1934, anti-trust action broke up UATC, and Boeing was spun off to house all UATC manufacturing subsidiaries west of the Mississippi river, including Wichita's Stearman. That same year, the Wichita plant began production of the successful Boeing-Stearman Model 75 "Kaydet" Navy and Army - Air Corps primary biplane trainer.
After the crash of the Boeing XB-17 prototype in 1935, Wichita banker Arthur Kinkaid (IV National Bank of Wichita) supported Boeing and ensured that the Boeing-Stearman plant would remain in Wichita.
The city experienced a population explosion during World War II when it became a major manufacturing center for the Boeing B-29 bombers needed in the war effort. By 1945, an average of 4.2 bombers were being produced daily in Wichita. For many years Boeing was Wichita's largest employeer.
Wichita saw some of its fastest population growth of the 20th century during the peak of the Cold War when Wichita was the headquarters for the Boeing Military Airplane Company and home to the McConnell Air Force Base. BoMAC produced all Boeing B-47 Stratojet aircraft and many Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses in Wichita. At various times McConnell Air Force Base hosted the 381st Strategic Missile Wing that controlled various LGM-25C Titan II missile silos around Wichita, the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, 23d Tactical Fighter Wing, 91st Air Refueling Squadron, 384th Air Refueling Wing/Bombardment Wing, and the Kansas Air National Guard 184th Tactical Fighter Training Group. Wichita's mid-continental location made it ideal for basing strategic assets, allowing maximum time to react to a Soviet missile attack launched over the north pole or from ocean going submarines.
Several aircraft from McConnell AFB crashed in the city, including:
- On March 28, 1956 a Boeing B-47 Stratojet, 51-2175, of the 3520th FTW suffered an explosion in a bomb bay fuel tank and shed its wings over East Wichita crashing four miles (6 km) NE of the city, killing three crew.
- On January 16, 1965 a fuel-laden Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker (57-1442, c/n 17513) crashed after an engine failure shortly after take off from McConnell. It incinerated an area near the intersection of 20th and Piatt in north-central Wichita, killing 23 on the ground plus the 7 crew members; the largest non-natural disaster in Kansas history.   
- On March 5, 1974 a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker (57-1500, of the 91st Air Refuelling Squadron, 384th Air Refuelling Wing) carrying 136,000 pounds of fuel crashed 3,000 feet from the main runway, after it apparently lost power. Two of the seven crew were killed.
In 1962, the Lear Jet Corporation was established when the Swiss American Aviation Corporation brought the tooling for building a failed ground-attack fighter to Wichita and opened a plant at Wichita's airport. On February 7, 1963, assembly of the first Learjet aircraft began and the following year, the company was renamed the Lear Jet Corporation. In 1990 Canadian firm Bombardier Aerospace purchased Learjet Corporation.
In the late 1980s two Boeing 747s were modified at Boeing-Wichita to become VC-25s to serve as Air Force One. In 2012, Boeing announced plans to shut down its Wichita facilities in the face of Pentagon budget cuts. However, the city remains a major manufacturing center for the aircraft industry today, with Beechcraft, Bombardier, Cessna, and even Airbus all having major manufacturing centers in town."
Entrepreneurial hub 
Wichita was also a significant entrepreneurial business center during the pre and post-war period, with Coleman, Mentholatum, Pizza Hut, White Castle, Taco Tico, and Koch Industries having all been founded in Wichita. (Ironically, White Castle closed all of their restaurants in Wichita in 1938 and has not operated in the state of Kansas after a failed revival attempt in the Kansas City area in the early 1990s.) The entrepreneurial spirit of Wichita led to the creation of one of the first academic centers to study and support entrepreneurship at the Wichita State University Center for Entrepreneurship.
In October 1932, orchestra leader Gage Brewer introduced the electric guitar to the world from Wichita using an instrument developed by what would later become known as the Rickenbacker Guitar Company.
The Dockum Drug Store sit-in was one of the first organized lunch-counter sit-ins for the purpose of integrating segregated establishments in the United States. The protest began in July 1958 in Wichita at the Dockum Drug Store, a store in the old Rexall chain, in which protesters would sit at the counter all day until the store closed, ignoring taunts from counterprotesters. The sit-in ended three weeks later when the owner relented and agreed to serve black patrons, taking place 18 months before the more widely publicized Greensboro sit-ins in January 1960. A 20-foot (6.1 m)-long bronze sculpture first announced in 1998 at a cost of $3 million marks the site of the successful sit-in, with a lunch counter and patrons depicting the protest.
Recent history has seen increased development in downtown and to the east and west sides of Wichita. In June 2005, Sedgwick County voters approved a sales tax raise to build a new arena downtown to replace the aging Kansas Coliseum, located north of the city. This is considered by some as a stepping stone to launch new development downtown.
During the April 13–15, 2012 tornado outbreak, a tornado struck on April 14 on the southeast side of Wichita, destroying numerous residences and damaging Spirit AeroSystems, Boeing, Kansas Aviation Museum, McConnell Air Force Base, Hawker Beechcraft.
Downtown Wichita is located at  Wichita is located in south-central Kansas at the junction of Interstate 35 and U.S. Route 54. Located in the Midwestern United States, it is 157 mi (253 km) north of Oklahoma City, 181 mi (291 km) southwest of Kansas City, and 439 mi (707 km) east-southeast of Denver.(37.688888, −97.336111) at an elevation of 1,299 feet (396 m).
The city lies on the Arkansas River near the western edge of the Flint Hills in the Wellington-McPherson Lowlands region of the Great Plains. The topography of the area is characterized by the broad alluvial plain of the Arkansas River valley and the moderately rolling slopes which rise to the higher lands on either side.
The Arkansas flows windingly south-southeast through Wichita, roughly bisecting the city. It is joined along its course by several tributaries all of which flow generally south. The largest is the Little Arkansas River which enters the city from the north and joins the Arkansas immediately west of downtown. Further east lies Chisholm Creek which joins the Arkansas in the far southern part of the city. The Chisholm's own tributaries drain much of the city's eastern half; these include the creek's West, Middle, and East Forks as well as, further south, Gypsum Creek. The Gypsum is fed by its own tributary, Dry Creek. Two more of the Arkansas's tributaries lie west of its course; from east to west, these are Big Slough Creek and Cowskin Creek. Both streams run south through the western part of the city. Fourmile Creek, a tributary of the Walnut River, flows south through the far eastern part of the city. In addition, there are two flood control canals in the city. The Wichita-Valley Center Floodway, known locally as "The Big Ditch", diverts part of the Arkansas River's flow around west-central Wichita, running roughly parallel to the Interstate 235 bypass. The second canal lies between the lanes of Interstate 135, running south through the central part of the city. Chisholm Creek is diverted into this canal for most of its length.
As the core of the Wichita metropolitan area, the city is surrounded by suburbs. Bordering Wichita on the north are, from west to east, Valley Center, Park City, Kechi, and Bel Aire. Enclosed within east-central Wichita is Eastborough. Adjacent to the city's east side is Andover. McConnell Air Force Base lies immediately southeast of the city. To the south, from east to west, are Derby and Haysville. Goddard and Maize border Wichita to the west and northwest, respectively.
Wichita lies in the northern limits of North America's humid subtropical climate zone (Köppen Cfa), typically experiencing hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters. Located on the Great Plains far from any large moderating influences such as mountains or large bodies of water, Wichita often experiences severe weather with thunderstorms occurring frequently during the spring and summer months. These occasionally bring large hail as well as frequent lightning, and tornadoes sometimes occur. Particularly destructive tornadoes have struck the Wichita area several times in the course of its history: in September 1965, during the Andover, Kansas Tornado Outbreak of April 1991, and during the Oklahoma tornado outbreak of May 1999. Wind speed in the city averages 13 mph (21 km/h). On average, January is the coldest month, July is the hottest month, and June is the wettest month.
The average temperature in the city is 56.9 °F (13.8 °C). Over the course of a year, the monthly daily average temperature ranges from 32.2 °F (0.1 °C) in January to 81.1 °F (27.3 °C) in July. The high temperature reaches or exceeds 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 62 days a year and 100 °F (38 °C) an average of 12 days a year. The minimum temperature falls to or below 10 °F (−12 °C) on an average 8.5 days a year. The hottest temperature recorded in Wichita was 114 °F (46 °C) in 1936; the coldest temperature recorded was −22 °F (−30 °C) on February 12, 1899. Readings as low as −17 °F (−27 °C) and as high as 111 °F (44 °C) occurred as recently as February 10, 2011 and July 29–30 2012, respectively.
During an average year, Wichita receives 32.69 inches (830 mm), most of which occurs in the warmer months, and experiences 88 days of measurable precipitation. The average relative humidity is 80% in the morning and 49% in the evening. Annual snowfall averages 15.6 inches (40 cm). Measurable snowfall occurs an average of ten days per year with at least an inch of snow being received on five of those days. Snow depth of at least an inch occurs an average of 15 days a year. Typically, the first fall freeze occurs by the fourth week of October, and the last spring freeze occurs by the second week of April.
|Climate data for Wichita, Kansas (1981–2010 normals)|
|Record high °F (°C)||75
|Average high °F (°C)||42.5
|Daily mean °F (°C)||32.2
|Average low °F (°C)||21.9
|Record low °F (°C)||−15
|Precipitation inches (mm)||0.83
|Snowfall inches (cm)||3.9
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||4.7||5.4||8.2||8.0||11.4||10.0||7.3||7.9||7.0||7.0||5.3||5.7||87.9|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||3.1||2.2||1.1||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0.1||0.6||2.8||10.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||192.2||189.3||229.4||258.0||288.3||306.0||341.0||310.0||246.0||226.3||171.0||167.4||2,924.9|
|Percent possible sunshine||58||61||62||64||64||69||76||75||68||64||58||57||65|
|Source: National Weather Service (extremes 1888–present); The Weather Channel; HKO (sun hours only, 1961–1990)|
Wichita has several recognized areas and neighborhoods. The downtown area is generally considered to be east of the Arkansas River, west of Washington Street, north of Kellogg and south of 13th Street. The downtown area contains landmarks such as Century II, the Garvey Center, and the Epic Center. Old Town is also part of downtown; this 2-3 square mile area is home to a cluster of night clubs, bars, restaurants, a movie theater, shops, and apartments and condominiums, many of which make use of historical warehouse-type spaces.
The two most notable residential areas of Wichita are Riverside and College Hill. Riverside is northwest of the downtown area, across the Arkansas River, and surrounds the 120-acre (0.49 km2) Riverside Park. College Hill is east of the downtown area, south of Wichita State University. College Hill is one of the more historic neighborhoods, along with Delano on the west side and Midtown in the north-central city.
2010 census 
As of the 2010 census, there were 382,368 people, 151,818 households, and 94,862 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,304.8 per square mile (889.9/km²). There were 167,310 housing units at an average density of 1,022.1 per square mile (475.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.9% White, 11.5% African American, 4.8% Asian (2.4% Vietnamese, 0.5% Indian, 0.3% Filipino, 0.4% Chinese, 0.3% Laotian, 0.1% Korean, 0.1% Pakistani, 1.1% other Asian), 1.2% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 6.2% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. 15.3% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race (13.0% Mexican, 0.4% Puerto Rican, 0.1% Cuban, 1.7% other Hispanic or Latino). Non-Hispanic Whites were 64.5% of the population in 2010, down from 87.2% in 1970.
Of the 151,818 households, 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48, and the average family size was 3.14.
The median age in the city was 33.9 years. 26.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.9% were from 25 to 44; 24.9% were from 45 to 64; and 11.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.3% male and 50.7% female.
The median income for a household in the city was $44,477, and the median income for a family was $57,088. Males had a median income of $42,783 versus $32,155 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,517. About 12.1% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.5% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.
In terms of population, Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and the 49th largest city in the United States.
Demographic history 
The early 20th century saw a resurgence in growth from the nascent aircraft industry (see below) with the population increasing by 350% between 1900 and 1930. By 1920 Wichita had entered the top 100 largest cities in the United States and by 1930 reached 77th in rank. The depression of the 1930s again slowed growth, with total population only increasing by 3% between 1930 and 1940. The decades during and after World War II saw a growth spurt as the city's population increased by more than 120% between 1940 and 1960. Wichita was the 51st largest city in the country by 1960.
The period between 1950 and 1970 saw a major shift in the city's racial make-up, as the proportion of blacks in the population increased significantly. Until 1950, blacks had made up about 5% of the population, with little variation. The black population increased from 8,082 (4.8%) in 1950 to 26,841 (9.7%) in 1970.
During the 1970s, the city's population grew by only 1%, but the growth rate accelerated in the following two decades to more than 13% in the 1990s. The growth among minorities is still strong.
Metropolitan area 
Wichita is the principal city of both the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Wichita-Winfield Combined Statistical Area (CSA). The Wichita MSA encompasses Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey, and Sumner counties and, as of 2010, had an estimated population of 623,061, making it the 84th largest MSA in the United States. The larger Wichita-Winfield CSA also includes Cowley County and, as of 2010, had an estimated population of 659,372. Nearby Reno County is not a part of the Wichita MSA or Wichita-Winfield CSA, but, were it included, it would add an additional population of 64,511 as of 2010.
Wichita's principal industrial sector is manufacturing, which accounted for 21.6 percent of area employment in 2003. Aircraft manufacturing has long dominated the local economy, and plays such an important role that it has the ability to influence the economic health of the entire region; the state offers tax breaks and other incentives to aircraft manufacturers.
Healthcare is Wichita's second-largest industry, employing approximately 28,000 people in the local area. Since healthcare 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. In July 2010, Via Christi Health, which is the largest provider of healthcare services in Kansas, is ready to open a hospital that will serve the northwest area of Wichita. Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa will be the system's fifth hospital to serve the Wichita community.
The two largest privately held companies in the United States, Koch Industries and Cargill, both operate headquarters facilities in Wichita. Koch Industries' primary global corporate headquarters complex is located in a large office-tower complex in northeast Wichita. Cargill Meat Solutions Div., at one time the nation's 3rd-largest beef producer, is headquartered downtown. Other firms with headquarters in Wichita include roller-coaster manufacturer Chance Morgan, gourmet food retailer Dean & Deluca, renewable energy company Alternative Energy Solutions, and Coleman Company, a manufacturer of camping and outdoor recreation supplies. Prior to its dissolution Air Midwest, the nation's first officially certificated "commuter" airline, was founded and based in Wichita, evolving into the nation's 8th largest regional airline.
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)
Aircraft Manufacturing 
Bombardier Learjet, Cessna, and Beechcraft are based in Wichita, along with Spirit AeroSystems, and both Airbus and Boeing maintain a large work force in Wichita. In the early 2000s a national and international recession combined with the after effects of the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks to depress the aviation sub-sector in and around Wichita. Orders for new aircraft plummeted, prompting Wichita's five largest aircraft manufacturers, Boeing Co., Cessna Aircraft Co., Bombardier Learjet Inc., Hawker Beechcraft 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. In early 2012, Boeing announced it would be closing its Wichita plant by the end of 2013.
Under state statute, Wichita is a city of the first class. Since 1917, it has had a council-manager form of government. The city council consists of seven members popularly elected every four years with staggered terms in office. For representative purposes, the city is divided into six districts with one council member elected from each district. The mayor is the seventh council member, elected at large. The council sets policy for the city, enacts laws and ordinances, levies taxes, approves the city budget, and appoints members to citizen commission and advisory boards. The council meets each Tuesday. The city manager is the city’s chief executive, responsible for administering city operations and personnel, submitting the annual city budget, advising the city council, preparing the council’s agenda, and oversight of non-departmental activities.
The Wichita Police Department, established in 1871, is the city’s law enforcement agency. With over 800 employees, including more than 600 commissioned officers, it is the largest law enforcement agency in Kansas.
As the county seat, Wichita is the administrative center of Sedgwick County. The county courthouse is located downtown, and most departments of the county government base their operations in the city.
Wichita lies within Kansas's 4th U.S. Congressional District. For the purposes of representation in the Kansas Legislature, the city is located in the 25th through 31st districts of the Kansas Senate and the 83rd through 100th, 103rd, and 105th districts of the Kansas House of Representatives.
The Wichita River Festival has been held in the Downtown and Old Town areas of the city since 1972. It has featured events, musical entertainment, sporting events, traveling exhibits, cultural and historical activities, plays, interactive children's events, a flea market, river events, a parade, block parties, a food court, fireworks and souvenirs for the roughly 370,000+ patrons who attend each year. In 2011, the festival was changed from May to June, because of rain during previous festivals.
The Tallgrass Film Festival has been held in downtown Wichita since 2003. It draws over 100 independent feature and short films from all over the world for three days each October. Notable people from the entertainment industry have attended in the past.
Points of interest 
The City of Wichita is a cultural center for Kansas, home to several art and history museums and performing arts groups. The Music Theatre of Wichita, Wichita Grand Opera, and Wichita Symphony Orchestra perform regularly at the Century II Convention Hall downtown. The Orpheum Theatre, built in 1922, serves as a downtown venue for smaller shows.
Intrust Bank Arena features 22 suites, 2 party suites, 40 loge boxes and over 300 premium seats with a total potential capacity of over 15,000. This arena in the middle of Wichita opened in January 2010.
Small art galleries are scattered around the city with some clustered in the districts of Old Town, Delano and south Commerce street. These galleries started the Final Friday Gallery crawl event, where visitors tour attractions for free in the evening on the last Friday of each month. Larger museums began participating and staying open late on Final Fridays shortly after its beginning.
The Wichita Art Museum is the largest art museum in the state of Kansas, and contains 7,000 works in permanent collections. This museum is a hub of the city's museums along the Arkansas River: the Mid-America All-Indian Center, Old Cowtown living history museum, Exploration Place science and discovery center, The Keeper of the Plains statue and its associated display highlighting the daily lives of plains Indians, and Botanica, The Wichita Gardens. Botanica boasts 24 themed gardens including the popular Butterfly Garden and the award-winning Sally Stone Sensory Garden.
The Sedgwick County Zoo in the northwest part of Wichita is the most popular outdoor tourist attraction in the state of Kansas, and is home to more than 2,500 animals representing 500 different species. The zoo is next to Sedgwick county park and Sedgwick County Extension Arboretum.
The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum in downtown Wichita occupies the original Wichita city hall, built in 1892. The museum contains artifacts that tell the story of Wichita and Sedgwick County starting from 1865 and continuing to the present day.
Slightly east of downtown, Old Town was transformed in the early 1990s from an old warehouse district to a mixed-zone neighborhood with residential space, nightclubs, restaurants, hotels and museums, including the Museum of World Treasures and railroad oriented Great Plains Transportation Museum.
Moody's Skidrow Beanery, at 625 E. Douglas in what was to become Old Town, was one of the more famous places in Wichita in the 1960s. It was the scene of a nationally followed First Amendment struggle  and was visited by Allen Ginsberg in 1966 (the name had been changed to the Magic Theatre Vortex Art Gallery) where he first read his long poem "Wichita Vortex Sutra."
Wichita is also home to two major shopping malls: Towne East Square and Towne West Square, on opposite ends of town, and each managed by Simon Property Group. Each mall is home to four anchor stores, and has more than 100 tenants apiece. The oldest mall, Wichita Mall, was for many years largely a dead mall, but has since been converted into office space. There are also two large outdoor shopping centers, Bradley Fair on the city's north-east side and NewMarket Square on the city's north-west side, each with over 50 stores spread out on several acres.
Sports teams in Wichita are:
- Friends University Falcons Athletics including Football, Volleyball, Soccer, Cross Country, Basketball, Tennis, Track and Field, and Golf
- Newman University Jets Athletics including Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Tennis, Wrestling, Volleyball, Cheer/Dance
- Wichita Wingnuts, Baseball
- Wichita Thunder, ice hockey
- Wichita Wild, Indoor Football
- Wichita Wings (2011)
- Wichita Barbarians, Rugby Union
- Wichita World 11, Cricket
- Wichita State Shockers Athletics, including Men's and Women's Basketball, Baseball, Volleyball, Track and Field, and Tennis
- Kansas Diamondbacks Semi-pro Football, member of the Gridiron Developmental Football League
- Kansas Cougars Semi-Pro football, member of CFL
Note: Three of the teams listed do not play their home games within the city limits, but are headquartered in Wichita. The Wichita Wild play at Hartman Arena, which is in Park City, The Kansas Diamondbacks play at Maize South High School which is located in Maize, the Kansas Cougars play at Fischer Field in Newton
In popular culture and the arts 
Wichita is mentioned in the songs "Wichita Skyline" by Shawn Colvin, "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes, and the song, "Captain Bobby Stout" by local musician Jerry Hahn. Allen Ginsberg wrote about a visit to Wichita in his poem Wichita Vortex Sutra, for which Philip Glass subsequently wrote a solo piano piece. Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman, written by Jimmy Webb, peaked at #1 on Billboard's country singles chart and at #3 on the pop chart in 1968. Ruby Vroom, released by the band Soul Coughing in 1994, contains a song called "True Dreams of Wichita".
The 2005 movie The Ice Harvest is set in Wichita.
In the 1987 movie Planes Trains and Automobiles, a Chicago bound flight is diverted to Wichita because of bad weather. Knight and Day (2010) is set partly at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, and was formerly titled Wichita.
The Wichita Eagle, which began publication in 1872, is the city's major daily newspaper. With a daily circulation of approximately 67,000 copies, it has the highest circulation of any newspaper published in Kansas. The Wichita Business Journal is a weekly newspaper that covers local business events and developments. Several other newspapers and magazines, including local lifestyle and neighborhood publications, are also published in the city.
Wichita is the principal city of the Wichita-Hutchinson, Kansas television market which consists of the western two-thirds of the state. All of the market's network affiliates broadcast from Wichita with the ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC affiliates serving the wider market through state networks of satellite and translator stations. The city also hosts a PBS member station, a Univision affiliate, and several low-power stations. Cable television service for Wichita and the surrounding area is provided by Cox Communications and AT&T.
Primary and secondary education 
With over 50,000 students, Wichita Public Schools (USD 259) is the largest school district in Kansas. It operates more than 90 schools in the city including 10 high schools, 16 middle schools, 61 elementary schools, and more than a dozen special schools and programs. Outlying portions of Wichita lie within suburban public school districts including Andover (USD 385), Circle (USD 375), Derby (USD 260), Goddard (USD 265), Haysville (USD 261), Maize (USD 266), and Valley Center (USD 262).
There are more than 35 private and parochial schools in Wichita. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Wichita oversees 16 Catholic schools in the city including 14 elementary schools and two high schools, Bishop Carroll Catholic High School and Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod operates two Lutheran schools in the city, Bethany Lutheran School (Grades PK-5) and Holy Cross Lutheran School (PK-8). There are also two Seventh-day Adventist schools in Wichita, Three Angels School (K-8) and Wichita Adventist Christian Academy (K-10). Other Christian schools in the city are Bethel Life School (K-8), Calvary Christian School (PK-12), Central Christian Academy (K-8), Sunrise Christian Academy (PK-12), Trinity Academy (9-12), Wichita Friends School (PK-6), and Word of Life Traditional School (K-12). In addition, there is an Islamic school, Anoor School (PK-8), operated by the Islamic Society of Wichita. Non-religious private schools in the city include Wichita Collegiate School and The Independent School as well as three Montessori schools.
Colleges and universities 
Three universities have their main campuses in Wichita. The largest is Wichita State University (WSU), a four-year public university which has more than 14,000 students and is the third-largest university in Kansas. WSU's main campus is in northeast Wichita with four satellite campuses located around the metro area. Friends University, a private, non-denominational Christian university, has its main campus in west Wichita as does Newman University, a private Catholic university. In addition, Wichita Area Technical College, a two-year public college, has its main campus and two satellite locations in the city.
Several colleges and universities based outside Wichita operate satellite locations in and around the city. The University of Kansas School of Medicine has one of its three campuses in Wichita. Baker University, Butler Community College, Cowley College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Southwestern College, Tabor College, Vatterott College, and Webster University have Wichita facilities as do for-profit institutions including Heritage College, ITT Technical Institute, and University of Phoenix.
The Wichita Public Library is the city's library system, presently consisting of a Central Library downtown and nine branch locations in neighborhoods around the city. The library operates several free programs for the public, including special events, technology training classes, and programs specifically for adults, children, and families. As of 2009, its holdings included more than 1.3 million books and 2.2 million items total.
Several federal and state highways pass through Wichita. Interstate 35, as the Kansas Turnpike, enters the city from the south and turns northeast, running along the city's southeastern edge and exiting through the eastern part of the city. Interstate 135 runs generally north-south through the city, its southern terminus lying at its interchange with I-35 in south-central Wichita. Interstate 235, a bypass route, passes through north-central, west, and south-central Wichita, traveling around the central parts of the city. Both its northern and southern termini are interchanges with I-135. U.S. Route 54 and U.S. Route 400 run concurrently through Wichita as Kellogg Avenue, the city's primary east-west artery, with interchanges, from west to east, with I-235, I-135, and I-35. U.S. Route 81, a north-south route, enters Wichita from the south as Broadway, turns east as 47th Street South for approximately half a mile, and then runs concurrently north with I-135 through the rest of the city. K-96, an east-west route, enters the city from the northwest, runs concurrently with I-235 through north-central Wichita, turns south for approximately a mile, running concurrently with I-135 before splitting off to the east and traveling around northeast Wichita, ultimately terminating at an interchange with U.S. 54/U.S. 400 in the eastern part of the city. K-254 begins at I-235's interchange with I-135 in north-central Wichita and exits the city to the northeast. K-15, a north-south route, enters the city from the south and joins I-135 and U.S. 81 in south-central Wichita, running concurrently with them through the rest of the city. K-42 enters the city from the southwest and terminates at its interchange with U.S. 54/U.S. 400 in west-central Wichita.
Mass Transit 
Wichita Transit operates 53 buses on 18 fixed bus routes within the city. The organization reports over 2 million trips per year (5,400 trips per day) on its fixed routes. Wichita Transit also operates a demand response paratransit service with 320,800 passenger trips annually. A 2005 study ranked Wichita near the bottom of the fifty largest American cities in terms of percentage of commuters using public transit. Only 0.5% used it to get to or from work. Greyhound Lines provides intercity bus service with a station in Wichita.
The Wichita Airport Authority manages the city's two main public airports, Wichita Mid-Continent Airport and Colonel James Jabara Airport. Located in the western part of the city, Mid-Continent Airport is the city's primary airport as well as the largest airport in the state of Kansas. Ten commercial airlines serve Mid-Continent with daily flights to several U.S. airline hubs. Wichita Transit provides hourly daytime bus service to and from the airport six days a week. Jabara Airport is a general aviation facility located on the city's northeast side. In addition, there are several privately owned airports located throughout the city. Cessna Aircraft Field and Beech Factory Airport, operated by manufacturers Cessna and Beechcraft, respectively, lie in east Wichita. Two smaller airports, Riverside Airport and Westport Airport, are located in west Wichita.
Two Class I railroads, BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad (UP), have lines which pass through Wichita. UP's OKT Line runs generally north-south through the city; north of downtown, the line consists of trackage leased to BNSF. An additional UP line enters the city from the northeast and terminates downtown. BNSF's main line through the city enters from the north, passes through downtown, and exits to the southeast, paralleling highway K-15. The Wichita Terminal Association, a joint operation between BNSF and UP, provides switching service on three miles (5 km) of track downtown. In addition, two lines of the Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad enter the city, one from the northwest and the other from the southwest, both terminating at their junction in west-central Wichita.
Wichita has not had passenger rail service since 1979. The nearest Amtrak station is in Newton 25 miles (40 km) north, offering service on the Southwest Chief line between Los Angeles and Chicago. However, since 2008, Amtrak and the Kansas Department of Transportation have been studying the feasibility of restoring service via route options between Oklahoma City and Newton or Kansas City.
Notable people 
Actress Kirstie Alley is known for her role in the TV show Cheers, in which she played Rebecca Howe from 1987 to 1993, winning an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award as the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1991. She has been successful on television and screen in other roles. Alley was born in Wichita on January 12, 1951.
Actor Don Johnson of Miami Vice and Nash Bridges fame along with various other television and movie roles, moved to Wichita from Missouri with his family when he was six. He graduated Wichita South High School in 1967 and later attended the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.
Wyatt Earp served as a lawman in several Western frontier towns, including Wichita. He is most well known for his part in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral during which three outlaw Cowboys were killed. The 30-second gunfight defined the rest of his life. Earp's modern-day reputation is that of the Old West's "toughest and deadliest gunman of his day."
In 1964 Jim Ryun became the first high school runner to break four minutes for the mile, running 3:59.0 as a junior at Wichita High School East. Because of his extensive achievements in sports, ESPN.com has him rated as the number 1 high school athlete of all time, beating out people such as Tiger Woods and LeBron James.
National Football League standouts Gale Sayers with the Chicago Bears and Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions both were born and raised in Wichita. Former NFL coach Bill Parcells played linebacker for Wichita State.
Dennis Rader, a mass murderer and serial killer known as the "BTK killer" (bind, torture kill) grew up in Wichita, and murdered ten people in and around Wichita from 1974 through 1991.
Wichita also has among its people many prominent fictional characters, including the entire setting of the Dennis the Menace comic strip.
Sister cities 
- Cancún, Mexico - November 25, 1975
- Kaifeng, Henan, China - December 3, 1985
- Orléans, France - August 16, 1944, through Sister Cities International
- Zacatecas, Mexico - October 16, 1973
- Omaha, Nebraska, United States - August 8, 1993
- Terrinches, España N/A
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- "Getting Around the Metro Area". Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2010-01-09.
- "UPRR Common Line Names". Union Pacific Railroad. Retrieved 2011-01-09.
- "Kansas Operating Division". BNSF Railway. 2009-04-01. Retrieved 2011-01-09.
- "Rail Plan 2005-2006". Kansas Department of Transportation. pp. 66–67. Retrieved 2011-01-09.
- Wistrom, Brent (2010-01-11). "Proposed Amtrak line would mean millions for Wichita". USA Today. Retrieved 2011-01-09.
- "Passenger Rail". Kansas Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2011-01-09.
- Hertneky, Dana (2010-09-02). "Kansas rail service expansion still on track". KSN. Retrieved 2011-01-09.
- "Kirstie Alley". Soylent Communications. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
- Cummins, Ann (April 15, 2010). "Wyatt Earp's Tombstone Vendetta". KNAU Public Radio. Retrieved 28 February 2012.
- "Charles viewed sports as a healthy diversion, but wanted his son to study law. Bill decided to play football in college. He was a freshman at Colgate when the Philadelphia Phillies offered him a contract. Charles quickly nixed that idea. Parcells then transferred to the University of Wichita (now Wichita State), where he played linebacker in 1958–59 and earned a physical education degree."
Further reading 
- Wichita : Illustrated History 1868 to 1880; Eunice S. Chapter; 52 pages; 1914. (Download 3MB PDF eBook)
- History of Wichita and Sedgwick County Kansas : Past and present, including an account of the cities, towns, and villages of the county; 2 Volumes; O.H. Bentley; C.F. Cooper & Co; 454 / 479 pages; 1910. (Volume1 - Download 20MB PDF eBook),(Volume2 - Download 31MB PDF eBook)
- History of the State of Kansas; William G. Cutler; A.T. Andreas Publisher; 1883. (Online HTML eBook)
- Kansas : A Cyclopedia of State History, Embracing Events, Institutions, Industries, Counties, Cities, Towns, Prominent Persons, Etc; 3 Volumes; Frank W. Blackmar; Standard Publishing Co; 944 / 955 / 824 pages; 1912. (Volume1 - Download 54MB PDF eBook),(Volume2 - Download 53MB PDF eBook), (Volume3 - Download 33MB PDF eBook)
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- City of Wichita
- Wichita - Directory of Public Officials
- Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Wichita Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Wichita Area Sister Cities
- USD 259, local school district
- Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum
- Discover Historic Wichita, Brochure with Map / List / Photos / Description of 121 Registered Historic Landmarks
- Carthalite - Wichita's Beautiful Concrete, Fall 2007 issue of American Bungalow magazine
- Wichita History at a Glance
- Wichita Photo Archives at WSU