For many, Kansas is associated with images from the Wizard of Oz, a reputation the state may or may not be trying to shake off.
But there’s much more to this land in the Midwestern United States than red slippers and yellow-brick roads. Sprawling fields of sunflowers have earned it the moniker of “the Sunflower State,” and its violent antebellum-era history is referred to as “Bleeding Kansas.”
Kansas (KS) on the US Map
The State of Kansas is divided into 105 counties, each with its own local government structure and a county seat, where the administrative functions are housed. The counties range in size and population, with diverse landscapes and communities that contribute to the state’s overall character.
In this post, we’ll look at a detailed Kansas Counties Map before learning more about some of the state’s most notable administrative divisions.
Kansas Counties Map
Below is a map of the 105 counties of Kansas (you can click on the map to enlarge it and to see the major city in each county).
Interactive Map of Kansas Counties
Click on any of the counties on the map to see the county’s population, economic data, time zone, and zip code (the data will appear below the map). Data is sourced from the US Census 2021.
List of the Counties of Kansas:
|County||Population||Per sq. km||Largest City|
|Barber County||4,178||1.42||Medicine Lodge|
|Barton County||25,708||11.09||Great Bend|
|Bourbon County||14,410||8.76||Fort Scott|
|Chase County||2,583||1.29||Cottonwood Falls|
|Cherokee County||19,507||12.82||Baxter Springs|
|Cheyenne County||2,647||1||St. Francis|
|Clay County||8,085||4.84||Clay Center|
|Cowley County||34,769||11.92||Arkansas City|
|Finney County||38,338||11.37||Garden City|
|Ford County||34,426||12.1||Dodge City|
|Geary County||36,514||36.65||Junction City|
|Graham County||2,444||1.05||Hill City|
|Johnson County||605,154||493.33||Overland Park|
|Lincoln County||2,952||1.58||Lincoln Center|
|Miami County||33,968||22.77||Spring Hill|
|Morris County||5,377||2.99||Council Grove|
|Ness County||2,717||0.98||Ness City|
|Osage County||15,811||8.65||Osage City|
|Rush County||2,883||1.55||La Crosse|
|Scott County||5,163||2.78||Scott City|
|Smith County||3,588||1.55||Smith Center|
|Stafford County||4,106||2||St. John|
|Stanton County||2,088||1.18||Johnson City|
|Wallace County||1,529||0.65||Sharon Springs|
|Woodson County||3,162||2.45||Yates Center|
|Wyandotte County||168,333||428.61||Kansas City|
Biggest Counties in Kansas by Population
Johnson County, situated on the border Kansas shares with Missouri, is the most populous county in the state. Its county seat is the city of Olathe, and the largest city in the county is Overland Park. Established as one of the original 33 counties in 1855, Johnson County was named after Reverend Thomas Johnson, a Methodist missionary who founded the Shawnee Indian Mission.
As a suburban part of the Kansas City metropolitan area, it has experienced significant growth and is considered an economic powerhouse in the region. With a high median income and well-regarded school systems, Johnson County attracts families and professionals alike.
It hosts several institutions of higher education, including the University of Kansas Edwards Campus. Overland Park, the county’s largest city, is known for its corporate headquarters, healthcare facilities, and cultural attractions like the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.
The county’s investment in public services and infrastructure is evident in its well-maintained parks, libraries, and roadways. Johnson County, through its blend of residential appeal and business acumen, plays a vital role in the prosperity of Kansas.
Sedgwick County, located in the southern part of Kansas, is a prominent hub that houses the city of Wichita, the county seat and the largest city in the state. Wichita is located on the Arkansas River and is home to Wichita State University, which brings a student population to the city.
Wichita’s heritage as an aircraft manufacturing center during the early to mid-20th century earned it the title “Air Capital of the World,” reflecting its significant contributions to the aviation industry. Today, Sedgwick County continues to lead in manufacturing, especially in aerospace, with numerous facilities dedicated to both production and innovation.
The county also offers a variety of cultural experiences. Attractions like the Sedgwick County Zoo, the Wichita Art Museum, and the historic Old Cowtown Museum provide both educational and leisure activities for residents and visitors.
Shawnee County is home to Topeka, the capital of Kansas and a city teeming with historical significance and governmental activity. As the heart of state politics, Topeka is where the Kansas State Capitol stands, a landmark featuring a 296-step dome tour offering panoramic views.
The county itself was established in 1855 and has since been central to the state’s political landscape. The Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka commemorates a defining moment in the nation’s civil rights movement, marking Shawnee County’s historical significance.
The county balances its political prominence with a commitment to green spaces and public recreation. Lake Shawnee offers residents and visitors alike a place for outdoor activities, including fishing, boating, and camping. Gage Park, another local favorite, provides a family-friendly atmosphere with its zoo, rose garden, and the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center.
Wyandotte County, known for its cultural diversity, sits at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers and is part of the Kansas City metropolitan area. The Kansas side of the city is often referred to as “KCK” to distinguish it from its larger neighbor in Missouri.
The Wyandotte County population comprises various cultural backgrounds, contributing to a vibrant social fabric with a rich mix of traditions, cuisines, and festivals that celebrate its ethnic diversity.
The county has a strong sporting spirit, being home to the Kansas Speedway, which hosts major NASCAR events and entices racing enthusiasts from across the country. Additionally, the Children’s Mercy Park stadium is a haven for soccer fans, serving as the home ground for Sporting Kansas City, the region’s Major League Soccer franchise.
Economically, Wyandotte County is experiencing a revitalization with concerted efforts toward redevelopment and investment in infrastructure. This has led to a surge in new businesses and an improvement in community facilities.
The fifth-most populous county in Kansas is Douglas County, located in the eastern part of the state. Its largest city and county seat is Lawrence, a city known for its higher education institutions and historical significance.
The University of Kansas (KU), a major public research institution, infuses Douglas County with energy and intellectual vitality. The city is also home to the Haskell Indian Nations University. The influence of these institutions is evident in the county’s arts scene, sporting events, and the lively downtown district that caters to students and residents alike.
In addition to its role as the county seat and home to two universities, Lawrence is also a focal point of cultural and historical interest in Kansas. It played a significant role during the Civil War as a stronghold of anti-slavery sentiment and was the site of the infamous Lawrence Massacre.
Douglas County also prides itself on its commitment to sustainability and the environment. It has undertaken various green initiatives, such as its Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.
Smallest Counties in [state] by Population
Named after Horace Greeley, Greeley County in Kansas is notable for its status as the least populous county in the state. Nestled in the far southwestern corner of Kansas, it offers a stark contrast to the bustling suburban life found in more populous areas. The county seat is Tribune, which serves as the administrative and cultural center of the county.
The economy of Greeley County is primarily driven by agriculture, with wheat and sorghum among the main crops. The vast, open landscapes are emblematic of the Great Plains, contributing to a serene way of life. The community is tightly knit, with residents often coming together to support local events and initiatives.
Despite its small population, Greeley County has embraced a unique form of government in Kansas. Since 2009, the Unified Government of Greeley County has comprised the county government and that of the City of Tribune. It was also the first county in Kansas to consolidate its schools and its road department.
Lane County, situated in the western part of Kansas, is another of the state’s least populated areas. Dighton, the county seat, encapsulates the essence of small-town living and serves as the central hub for the county’s administrative functions. The county was established in 1886 and named after James H. Lane, a member of the Free-State Party in Kansas.
The county’s economy is predominantly agricultural, with vast tracts of land dedicated to farming and ranching. The rural landscape is punctuated by fields of wheat, milo, and corn, the biggest agricultural projects belonging to the beef cattle ranching and farming industry.
With a lower population density, the sense of community in Lane County is close-knit, and local events are typically community-wide affairs. The social calendar in Lane County, though modest, is filled with events that draw families together, from high school sports to seasonal festivals, many of which take place at the Dighton Community Center.
Wallace County, positioned at the western edge of Kansas, is another sparsely populated region in the state. Named after Civil War General William H. L. Wallace, the county was formally organized in 1888. The county seat, Sharon Springs, is a center of local governance and community activity in this expansive landscape.
Agriculture in Wallace County is a testament to the resilience of its residents, with ranching and farming stretching across the open plains. The community spirit of the county is alive in the various annual events that take place, such as the Wallace County Cruisers Car Show and the Fort Wallace Rodeo.
Despite its small population, Wallace County is rich in history. It is home to the Fort Wallace Museum, a local landmark that is a tribute to the county’s past, telling the story of its early military importance. This historical legacy continues to be a point of pride for the inhabitants of Wallace County, who maintain a deep connection to the land and their heritage.
Notable Kansas Counties
Ellis County is another notable part of Kansas, anchored by its largest city, Hays. Fort Hays State University, a leading public institution, drives the local culture, creating a vibrant atmosphere with its student population and academic events.
The county’s history is intrinsically linked to Fort Hays, a frontier military outpost that was active during the Indian Wars. Its legacy is preserved at the Fort Hays State Historic Site, which offers visitors a glimpse into the life of soldiers and settlers during the late 1800s.
Ellis County also celebrates its German roots, most notably with the annual Oktoberfest, a festivity that draws crowds with its traditional music, dance, and food, reaffirming the county’s rich cultural tapestry.
Beyond its academic and historical offerings, Ellis County is home to a number of green spaces. One of these is Frontier Park, a local favorite that offers trails, playgrounds, and picnic areas where residents and visitors can enjoy the outdoors.
Brown County, nestled in the northeastern region of Kansas, holds a special place in both the historical and cultural landscapes of the state. The county seat, Hiawatha, is renowned for its beautiful Davis Memorial, a remarkable and elaborate mausoleum that draws visitors from far and wide.
The county’s history is further enriched by the presence of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas. The Kickapoo Tribe has a significant historical presence in the region, maintaining their traditions and cultural practices. The reservation provides educational opportunities and cultural exchanges that preserve Native American heritage.
Brown County is also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with the rolling hills and woodlands of Northeast Kansas providing a perfect backdrop for hiking, hunting, and fishing. Brown State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area is a great place to take advantage of the county’s natural beauty.
More About Kansas Counties: FAQs
What is the largest county by area in Kansas?
Butler County is the largest by area, covering approximately 1,447 square miles (3,748 square kilometers).
Which Kansas county is known for the Big Well, the world’s largest hand-dug well?
The Big Well is located in Greensburg, the county seat of Kiowa County.
How many counties does Kansas have?
Kansas is divided into 105 counties.
What is the newest county in Kansas?
There have been no recent changes to county lines; thus, all counties are as old as the last adjustment made in the late 19th century.
Which county in Kansas is famous for the Monument Rocks natural rock formation?
Gove County is famous for Monument Rocks, also known as the Chalk Pyramids.