When you think of Wichita, you may envision miles and miles of farmland or even tornados. Yet, is this an accurate portrayal of the city? We have created a short preview of the habitat, people, and wildlife that make up “Cowtown” to give you a better idea of what Wichita is really like.
Wichita has a population of over 380,000 people with diverse backgrounds. According to the latest census numbers from 2010, almost 72 percent of the population identifies as white, nearly twelve percent are African-American, about five percent are Asian, and more than fifteen percent are Hispanic. Keep in mind that there is overlap in categories, so the numbers do not add up to 100 percent. Almost 51 percent of Wichita’s population is female, and nearly one in every eight residents are aged 65 years or older.
Wichita’s low cost of living and strong economy have made it a popular place for people in the United States and beyond to move to. In fact, over ten percent of Wichitans were born outside of the country, and about one in six speak a language other than English at home. There is little research into immigration to Wichita specifically, but in Kansas as a whole, immigration has had a positive impact in the state with the majority of immigrants coming from Mexico, Vietnam, and India.
Wichita is at the northern limits of North America’s humid subtropical climate zone. The summers are usually hot and humid with the highs in the low 90s during the hottest months of July and August. The winters are cold and dry with average lows in the low 20s in January. Wichita only gets about fifteen inches of snow per winter.
Since Wichita is not located near any large bodies of water, mountains, or other large moderating influences, the city experiences severe weather during the summer and spring months. Thunderstorms are quite frequent and with them comes hail and tornados. In the course of Wichita’s history, there have been several tornadoes, including the Oklahoma tornado outbreak of 1999.
Sedgwick County, where Wichita is located, has a comprehensive emergency warning system in place. They have sirens that can be heard anywhere in the city. They are tested every Monday at noon. The county recommends that you have a safe place that is away from windows and on the lowest level of your building. There are also community shelters.
Contrary to the above warnings, you will not be dodging tornados all the time in Wichita. You will have plenty of time to observe the natural life. Wichita’s Great Plains Nature Center website gives a comprehensive list of mammals, plants, birds, lizards, and more found in the region. Some examples include armadillos, jackrabbits, prairie dogs, flying squirrels, and more.
There is also a comprehensive database kept of Kansas’s wildflowers and grasses. The site contains over 6342 identification photos for all of the species found in Kansas. They also tell you where to find wildflowers and when they flower.
Find assisted living in Wichita near you.