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Manhattan is a city located in the northeastern part of the state of Kansas in the United States, at the junction of the Kansas River and Big Blue River. It is the county seat of Riley County and the city extends into Pottawatomie County. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 52,281. It is the principal city of the Manhattan, Kansas Metropolitan Statistical Area – with an estimated population of 113,629, the Manhattan MSA is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the state.
Nicknamed “The Little Apple” as a play on New York City’s “Big Apple”, it is best known as being the home of Kansas State University and has a college town atmosphere. Eight miles (13 km) west of the city is Fort Riley, a United States Army post.
In 2007, CNN and Money magazine rated Manhattan as one of the ten best places in America to retire young. The town was named an All-American City in 1952, becoming the first city in Kansas to win the award. In 2011, Forbes rated Manhattan No. 1 for “Best Small Communities for a Business and Career.”
Before settlement by European-Americans in the 1850s, the land where Manhattan currently sits was long home to Native American tribes. Most recently, from 1780 to 1830 it was home to the Kaw people (also known as the Kansa). The Kaw settlement was called Blue Earth Village (Manyinkatuhuudje). It was named after the river the tribe called the Great Blue Earth River – today known as the Big Blue River – which intersected with the Kansas River by their village. Blue Earth Village was the site of a large battle between the Kaw and the Pawnee in 1812.
The Kaw tribe ceded ownership of this land in a treaty signed at the Shawnee Methodist Mission on January 14, 1846.
Manhattan is located at 39°11′25″N 96°35′13″W (39.190142, −96.586818), or about 50 miles (80 km) west of Topeka on the Kansas River.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.79 square miles (48.67 km2), of which, 18.76 square miles (48.59 km2) is land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2) is water.
Manhattan is located in the Flint Hills region of Kansas, which consists of continuous rolling hills covered in tall grasses. However, the current downtown area – the original site of Manhattan – was built on a broad, flat floodplain at the junction of the Kansas and Big Blue rivers.
Tuttle Creek Reservoir is located 5 miles (8 km) north of Manhattan. The lake was formed when the Big Blue River was dammed for flood control in the 1960s, and it is now a state park that offers many recreational opportunities. South of the city is the Konza Prairie, a tallgrass prairie preserve jointly owned by The Nature Conservancy and Kansas State University.
Manhattan lies in the transition between the humid continental (Köppen Dfa) and humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) zones, typically experiencing hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 29.1 °F (−1.6 °C) in January to 79.9 °F (26.6 °C) in July. The high temperature reaches or exceeds 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 58 days a year and 100 °F (38 °C) an average of 10 days. The minimum temperature falls to or below 0 °F (−18 °C) on an average 5.3 days a year. Extreme temperatures range from 116 °F (47 °C) on August 13, 1936 down to −35 °F (−37 °C) on February 12, 1899.
On average, Manhattan receives 35.7 inches (907 mm) of precipitation annually, a majority of which occurs from May to August, and records 102 days of measurable precipitation. Measurable snowfall occurs an average of 9.6 days per year with 6.1 days receiving at least 1.0 inch (2.5 cm). Snow depth of at least one inch occurs an average of 22 days a year. Typically, the average window for freezing temperatures is October 12 thru April 21.
As of the census of 2010, there were 52,281 people, 20,008 households, and 9,466 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,786.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,076.0 /km2). There were 21,619 housing units at an average density of 1,152.4 per square mile (444.9 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 83.5% White, 5.5% African American, 0.5% Native American, 5.1% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 1.7% from other races, and 3.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.8% of the population.
There were 20,008 households of which 22.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.0% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 52.7% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.82.
The median age in the city was 23.8 years. 15.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 39.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24% were from 25 to 44; 14.2% were from 45 to 64; and 7.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.9% male and 49.1% female.