Why is Kansas Split Between Two Different Time Zones?

When you think of time zones, you might think of the difference between Eastern and Pacific time or the five-hour difference between New York and London. But did you know that some states in the United States are split between two different time zones? One such state is Kansas. So why is Kansas split between two different time zones?

The Geography of Kansas

To understand why Kansas is split between two different time zones, it’s important to consider the state’s geography. Kansas is located in the central part of the United States, and its eastern and western regions have different geographical features. The eastern part of Kansas is part of the Central Time Zone, while the western part is part of the Mountain Time Zone.

The time zone boundary runs along the 100th meridian, which is also the eastern boundary of the state of Colorado. The 100th meridian was chosen as the boundary because it represents a significant geographical divide in North America. To the east of the 100th meridian, the land is characterized by more abundant rainfall and fertile soil, while to the west, the land is drier with less fertile soil. This geographical divide has had an impact on the way time zones are divided in the United States.

Historical Reasons

The split time zone in Kansas has historical roots. When the division of time zones was first established in the late 19th century, it was based on the needs of the communities and their economic activities. In Kansas, this meant that the eastern part of the state, which had closer ties to the industrial and commercial activities in neighboring states such as Missouri and Illinois, was aligned with the Central Time Zone. Meanwhile, the western part of the state, which was more closely tied to agricultural activities and transport routes, was aligned with the Mountain Time Zone.

Over time, the needs and activities of these regions have continued to influence their time zone alignment. As the population and economic activities in Kansas have grown and modernized, the split time zone has remained in place to accommodate the unique needs of each part of the state.

Legislative Decisions

Another reason why Kansas is split between two different time zones is the result of legislative decisions. The division of time zones is ultimately a matter of federal law, and the decision to split Kansas between the Central and Mountain Time Zones was made by the United States Congress. The boundary of the time zones is designated by legislation, and any changes to the time zone boundaries require approval at the federal level.

While some states have taken steps to change their time zone boundaries, Kansas has not made any significant efforts to consolidate its time zones. The split time zone has become a part of the state’s identity and is seen as a reflection of the diverse needs and activities of its eastern and western regions.


In conclusion, Kansas is split between two different time zones due to a combination of geographical, historical, and legislative factors. The state’s unique topography, economic activities, and legislative decisions have all played a role in shaping its time zone boundaries. While having a split time zone may present some challenges for residents and businesses, it also reflects the diverse nature of the state and its ability to accommodate the needs of its different regions.


Q: Are there any plans to consolidate the time zones in Kansas?

A: There are currently no plans to consolidate the time zones in Kansas. The split time zone has been in place for many years and has become a part of the state’s identity.

Q: How does the split time zone affect residents and businesses in Kansas?

A: The split time zone can present some logistical challenges for residents and businesses, especially those that operate in both the eastern and western parts of the state. However, many residents and businesses have adapted to the split time zone and have found ways to manage the differences in time.

Q: How is the split time zone in Kansas managed in terms of official activities and events?

A: Official activities and events in Kansas are typically designated with the appropriate time zone to ensure clarity and effective coordination. While the split time zone may require additional attention to detail, it has become a standard practice in the state.


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