The Bad News
Kansas City is a large metropolitan area that encompasses two states (Missouri and Kansas) and seven counties. The city of Kansas City is actually two cities: Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri which sit side by side with the state line between them. They are surrounded by suburbs on all sides which totals a population of 1,000,000 in the metropolitan area. The larger city of Kansas City, Missouri makes up half that number. Health conditions in the urban core for both cities have been impacted by state and county divisions that vary wildly between what services are available to whom depending on residency, urban sprawl, which leads to investment of surrounding suburban communities and neglect of the urban core, a lack of core services in the urban core, the ongoing economic downturn which has a disproportionate negative impact on already underserved communities, urban renewal plans that displace rather than renew, food and job scarcity, a public school system that is challenged, and changes in healthcare delivery that continue to disenfranchise those who most need to access care. The problems are complex and compounded by long entrenched social barriers that keep the city divided along racial lines.