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Wichita is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas and the 49th-largest city in the United States. 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 the 2010 United States Census, the city population was 382,368; as of 2012, it was estimated to have increased to 385,577. In 2012, the estimated population of the Wichita metropolitan area was 636,105, and that of the larger Wichita-Winfield combined statistical area was 672,393.
The city began as a trading post on the Chisholm Trail in the 1860s, then was incorporated in 1870. It subsequently became a key destination for cattle drives traveling north from Texas to access railroads, earning it the nickname “Cowtown”. In the 1920s and 1930s, businessmen and aeronautical engineers established a number of successful aircraft manufacturing companies in Wichita including Beechcraft, Cessna, and Stearman Aircraft. The city transformed into a hub of U.S. aircraft production and became known as “The Air Capital of the World”. Beechcraft, Cessna, and other firms including Boeing, Learjet, and Spirit AeroSystems continue to operate factories in Wichita today, and the city remains a major center of the U.S. aircraft industry.
As an industrial hub and the largest city in the state, Wichita is an area center of culture, media, and trade. It hosts several large museums, theatres, parks, and entertainment venues, notably Intrust Bank Arena. Several universities are located in the city including Wichita State University, the third largest in the state. The city’s daily newspaper, The Wichita Eagle, has the highest circulation of any newspaper in Kansas, and the Wichita broadcast television market includes the western two-thirds of the state. Wichita is also home to two large shopping centers, Towne East Square and Towne West Square, as well as the Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center and Kansas’s largest airport, Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.
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.