Missouri’s two biggest cities aren’t especially well run according to a survey by personal finance website Wallethub.

Kansas City

Kansas City ranked 96th out of 150 municipalities while St. Louis came in even lower in 136th place.  In the category of “Quality of City Services” St. Louis was 148th, only edged out at the bottom by Detroit and Jackson, Mississippi while Kansas City was 93rd.

What helped each Missouri location was the process of dividing the Quality of City Services score of each by its “Total Budget per Capita” which gave both cities a higher “Score per Dollar Spent”, which determined the final outcome.

St. Louis

Of the six categories that figured into the Quality of City Services in the Wallethub Survey, St. Louis ranked lowest in Safety, dead last at 150th, followed by Financial Stability, 146th, Health, 145th and Education, 135th.  Four metrics determined the outcome for safety.  The Violent Crime and Property Crime rates are weighted with double the importance of Motor Vehicle Fatalities per Capita and Percentage of Sheltered Homeless Persons.

St. Louis is at or near the top of numerous lists for violent crime.  According to Forbes, St. Louis is the 2nd most violent city with 1,857 incidents per 100,000 residents.

The magazine points out that St. Louis lies directly in the path of major drug-trafficking routes and notes that the crime rate fell 4% last year — and is down 50% from the crack epidemic days of the early 1990s — but is still 4th in the nation for murders.

Business Insider used FBI crime statistics compiled from cities with a population over 100,000 between January 2017 to June 2017 to determine its list of the most violent cities. St. Louis came in 3rd with 91.5 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.  CBS News ranks St. Louis as the 2nd most dangerous city with 188 people being murdered there in 2016.

In the category of Financial Stability, Truth in Accounting (TIA) ranks St. Louis 66th out of the 75 largest cities and gives it a financial grade of D.  TIA calculates the Gateway City to be $1.6 billion in debt corresponding to $16,500 for every taxpayer.  The Fiscal Times rated St. Louis 112 out of 116 cities with a population of at least 200,000 for “fiscal strength”.

St. Louis’ highest-ranking category in determining Quality of City Services is Infrastructure and Pollution where it comes in at 37th.  The category takes into consideration factors which considers factors such as quality of roads, commute times, traffic congestion, transit access, water pollution and air pollution.

Kansas City

Kansas City’s lowest ranking in the categories that determined Quality of City Services in the Wallethub survey was Safety, where it ranked  138th.  The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) Thursday issued statistics for auto thefts in 2017.  Kansas City had the most with 9,712.  Also Thursday, KMBC-TV reported that car thefts in the metro area had jumped 25 percent in the last year.  According to the TV station, police believe guns are the motive for a lot of the thefts and break-ins.

During car thefts or break-ins in Kansas City, Missouri, the number of firearms stolen from vehicles jumped from 164 in 2015 to 446 in 2017.

CBS News ranks Kansas City as the 6th most dangerous city with 1,655 incidents of violent crime per 100,000 people. 129 people were murdered in the city in 2016.

Categories where Kansas City also ranked low in determining Quality of City Services were Infrastructure and Pollution, 114th and Financial Stability, 86th.

Truth in Accounting (TIA) ranks Kansas City 55th out of the 75 largest cities and gives it a financial grade of D.  According to TIA, Kansas City, like St. Louis, is $1.6 billion in debt. But since it has a larger population within its city limits, Kansas City’s corresponding debt per taxpayer is smaller at $10,500.

A bright spot for Kansas City was Education, where it came in 18th.


Kansas City did fairly well, 63rd while St. Louis, 106th, performed poorly in the category of “Economy”.  Cities’ Economies were figured by considering metrics such as Unemployment Rate, Household Income, and Job Growth.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the metro St. Louis area had a 3.3% jobless rate in May while unemployment in metro Kansas City was 3.6%

Both cities ranked low in Business Insider’s analysis of economies in the country’s 40 largest metro areas.  St. Louis, at 35th, had the third-lowest job growth rate with non-farm payroll employment increasing only 0.4% between February 2017 and February 2018. The region’s 2016 GDP growth rate of 0.8% was tied for seventh-lowest.

Kansas City metro was 28th out of 40.  It’s 2016 GDP per capita of $61,320 was just below the average of $65,391, and its job growth rate of 1.6% between February 2017 and February 2018 was just below the average rate of 1.8%.