Welcome to the Great State of Kansas, the land of plains and prairies! From the sand dunes of the west to the woodlands and farms of the east, Kansas offers diverse landscapes. Sunflowers grow everywhere, offering wonderful contrast to the brown and green sceneries. Considered the nation’s breadbasket, it grows wheat in more abundance than any other state. Dodge City is here, home of the world’s largest cattle industry. Kansas was named after the Kansas River, which, in turn, was named after the Sioux Indian word “KaNze” (meaning south wind). Kansas was admitted into the union on January 21, 1861.

State Nickname

Kansas is called by many nicknames, but the officially recognized one is Sunflower State. This references the wild flowers that grow in profusion throughout Kansas. Kansas is also known as the Wheat State, Midway, U.S.A., Central State, Cyclone State, Grasshopper State, Garden of the West, Squatter State, Bleeding Kansas, Battleground of Freedom, and Jayhawk State.

Climate Summary

The state has a continental climate. It has open skies, dramatic sunsets, and temperature that varies widely all year round. Tornadoes or cyclones are frequent (an aspect immortalized in the novel The Wizards of Oz). Heavy rains and winter blizzards are also common. Overall, Kansas has warm summers, mild winters, and moderate humidity.

State Tax Situation

All Kansas citizens are enforced to pay personal income tax. There are 3 tax brackets: 3.5%, 6.25%, and 6.45%. Since 2003, statewide sales tax is 5.2%. The state also enforces inheritance tax on its citizens, as well as social security tax on Kansans with gross income exceeding $75,000.  

Government Summary

A federal government, the Kansas government has 3 branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The state government abides to three documents: the Kansas State Constitution, the Constitution of the United States, and the laws of the state. A governor, elected statewide for a 4-year term, heads the state from their Kansas Capitol Building office.

State Seal

Adopted in 1861, The Kansas state seal includes symbols depicting the state’s history: a rising sun, river and steamboat, cabin, a settler plowing a field, wagon train, and buffaloes pursued by Indians on horseback. Above are 34 stars (since Kansas is the 34th state to be accepted into the Union) and state motto.

Motto and Description

The state motto is in Latin. “Ad Astra Per Aspera” – it means “To the stars through difficulties”, it is appears on both the state seal and state flag. The Kansas state motto is a reminder of the pioneering efforts of the first settlers and difficulties Kansas had to battle to establish its statehood. 

State Flag

The state flag of Kansas is replete with historical allusions. It has a sunflower (representing the fearlessness of Kansans in facing their problems) resting on a blue and gold bar (symbolizing the Louisiana purchase) and the state seal. Below the seal is the name of the state, KANSAS, in yellow print. 

State Bird

The western meadow lark is a medium-sized songbird found in open habitats of Kansas. It has a brown and white striped head, yellow underbody, pointed bill, and distinctive black V-shape on breast. The bird loves perching on fence posts, singing its 10-note, flute-like melody.  It was made the official state bird of Kansas in 1937. 

State Flower

Sunflowers, Kansas’ official emblem, are “sun worshippers”. All day, flower heads follow the sun’s movement by turning their face towards the sun. Kansans have a long-standing history with sunflowers: They were used as food by American Indians 3000 years ago.  In the 1800s, Kansans wore sunflowers at out-of-state events to identify their place of origin.

State Animal

Kansas’ chosen state animal is the magnificent American buffalo (bison), which once roamed the Kansas prairie by tens of thousands. It is an exceptionally large animal. An adult male bison can weigh as much as 1800 tons and run at an average speed of 48 kph. They were nearly driven to extinction by European settlers but are now recovering.

State Song and Description

The official state song is “Home on the Range”. The words were based on the poem entitled “Oh Give Me a Home” by Dr. Brewster M. Higley. Higley’s friend Daniel E. Kelley provided the music. The song, which depicts life in the American West, has become the unofficial anthem of settlers, cowboys, and other Westerners.  

State Color   

Kansas has designated blue and yellow as its state color. Blue is used as the background for the state’s flag and banner. Yellow is associated with sunflower, Kansas’s official state flower. A bar with band of blue and yellow as seen on the Kansas flag and military crest represents the Louisiana Purchase.