Kansas, a midwestern state, occupies the central region of the United States of America, known as the American “Heartland.” South of Nebraska, north of Oklahoma, Missouri also borders Kansas on the east, and Colorado borders Kansas on the west. The 15th largest state by area, Kansas boasts the 33rd largest population in the United States with 2,775,997 residents. Topeka serves as Kansas’s capital city, while Wichita is the largest city.
In 2003, Kansas’s gross domestic product increased 4.3% from the prior year to $97 billion. Kansas’s per-capita income was $29,438, and the unemployment rate was 4.9%. Part of the Grain Belt, Eastern Kansas participates in major grain production. Other agricultural outputs include cattle, sheep, wheat, sorghum, soybeans, cotton, hogs, corn, and salt. Industrial outputs include transportation equipment, commercial and private aircraft, food processing, publishing, chemical products, machinery, apparel, petroleum, and mining. Kansas ranks 8th in both oil and natural gas production. The aerospace industry also heavily influences Kansas’s economy with Boeing, Beech, Cessna, Learjet, and Hawker-Beechcraft all owning manufacturing facilities in Wichita and Kansas City.
Three income tax brackets range from 3.5% to 6.45% and the state sales tax in Kansas is 5.3%. Total sales tax collections amounted to $1.63 billion in 2003. A 1998 permanent tax reduction raised the state’s debt level resulting from lower tax collections and slower growth in personal income. Kansas’s bonded debt increased to $3.83 billion up from $1.16 billion eight years earlier.
Kansas and its 628 cites are divided into 105 counties. Located equidistant from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, Kansas contains the geodetic center of North American and the geographic center of the lower 48 states.