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Liberty, Missouri
Historic Clay County Courthouse in Liberty, Missouri
Historic Clay County Courthouse in Liberty, Missouri
Location in the state of Missouri and in Clay County
Location in the state of Missouri and in Clay County
Country United States
State Missouri
County Clay
Incorporated May 7, 1829 (as a town), 1851 (as a city)
 • Type Mayor-Council-Administrator
 • Total 28.96 sq mi (75.00 km2)
 • Land 28.83 sq mi (74.67 km2)
 • Water 0.13 sq mi (0.33 km2)
879 ft (268 m)
 • Total 30,167
 • Density 1,041.68/sq mi (402.23/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
64068, 64069
Area code(s) 816
FIPS code 29-42032
GNIS feature ID 0730132

Liberty is a city in and the county seat of Clay County, Missouri, United States and is a suburb of Kansas City, located in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. As of the 2020 United States Census the population was 30,167. Liberty is home to William Jewell College.


WJC Chapel
Gano Chapel from the Quad in 2004 after the clock tower had been repaired following the 2003 tornado.
Clay County Savings Association building
Historic Liberty Jail museum

Liberty was settled in 1822, and shortly later became the county seat of Clay County. The city was named for the American concept of liberty.

In 1830, David Rice Atchison established a law office in Liberty. He was joined three years later by colleague Alexander William Doniphan. The two argued cases defending the rights of Mormon settlers in Jackson County, served Northwest Missouri in Missouri's General Assembly, and labored for the addition of the Platte Purchase to Missouri's boundaries.

In October 1838, the two were ordered by Governor Lilburn Boggs to arrest Mormon prophet Joseph Smith Jr. at the Far West settlement in Caldwell County. Immediately after the conclusion of the Mormon War, Smith and other Mormon leaders were incarcerated at the Liberty Jail for the winter as Doniphan labored for a quicker trial date. Although Doniphan led a force of Missouri volunteers ordered to capture the leaders, he defended Joseph Smith in trial and won him a change in venue. While en route to their new venue, Smith and his followers escaped and left Missouri for the new Mormon settlement in Nauvoo, Illinois.

The Arthur-Leonard Historic District, Clay County Savings Association Building, Clinton House, Dougherty-Prospect Heights Historic District, Garrison School Historic District, Frank Hughes Memorial Library, IOOF Liberty Lodge No. 49, Jewell Hall, Jewell-Lightburne Historic District, Major Hotel, Miller Building, Mt. Memorial Cemetery, Nebo Hill Archeological Site, Odd Fellows Home District, South Liberty Courthouse Square Historic District, and West Liberty Courthouse Square Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Liberty is located at 39°14′27″N 94°25′35″W / 39.24083°N 94.42639°W / 39.24083; -94.42639 (39.240852, -94.426502). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.15 square miles (75.50 km2), of which, 29.03 square miles (75.19 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.31 km2) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 827
1860 1,288 55.7%
1870 1,700 32.0%
1880 1,476 −13.2%
1890 2,558 73.3%
1900 2,407 −5.9%
1910 2,980 23.8%
1920 3,097 3.9%
1930 3,516 13.5%
1940 3,598 2.3%
1950 4,709 30.9%
1960 8,909 89.2%
1970 13,704 53.8%
1980 16,251 18.6%
1990 20,459 25.9%
2000 26,232 28.2%
2010 29,149 11.1%
2020 30,167 3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census 2020

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 29,149 people, 10,582 households, and 7,555 families living in the city. The population density was 1,004.1 inhabitants per square mile (387.7/km2). There were 11,284 housing units at an average density of 388.7 per square mile (150.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.4% White, 3.6% African American, 0.5% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.9% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.1% of the population.

There were 10,582 households, of which 38.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.4% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 28.6% were non-families. 23.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.11.

The median age in the city was 36.4 years. 26.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26% were from 25 to 44; 26.5% were from 45 to 64; and 11.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.7% male and 51.3% female.

Twin towns


Major employers in Liberty include the Hallmark distribution warehouse. Liberty is also home to the operations headquarters for Ferrellgas, the 2nd largest retail provider of propane in the United States. The B&B Theatres corporate office is located in Liberty, the 7th largest theater chain in the U.S. While technically not in Liberty, the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant is a major employer in nearby Claycomo.

Top employers

According to the town's 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Liberty School District 2,109
2 Liberty Hospital 1,400
3 Hallmark Cards 820
4 RR Donnelley 350
5 Clay County 350
6 City of Liberty 325
7 Ferrellgas 263
8 Ford Stamping Plant 256
9 William Jewell 235
10 LMV 185


The Liberty 53 School District operates ten elementary, four middle and two senior high schools.

Liberty has a public library, a branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library.

Liberty is also home to William Jewell College, a private, four-year liberal arts college of more than 900 undergraduate students that was founded in 1849.

Notable people

  • David Allen, former American football running back for the Jacksonville Jaguars and St. Louis Rams.
  • Ken Boyer, former third baseman and manager of the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • James Dewees, keyboardist and back-up vocalist of The Get Up Kids, and started Reggie and the Full Effect.
  • Hubert Eaton, visionary and developer of the world-famous Forest Lawn cemeteries in California.
  • Shea Groom, soccer player
  • Gatewood Lincoln, governor of American Samoa.
  • George Rice, football player
  • Alex Saxon, actor (The Fosters, Finding Carter)
  • Craig Stevens, star of the 1950s television series Peter Gunn.
  • Matt Wertz, soft rock singer/songwriter.
  • Greg Canuteson, former mayor and state representative
  • Scott Carroll, Former Professional Baseball Player.
  • Nick Robinson, Former Stanford Basketball player and College Basketball coach.
  • Eric Staves, Actor Goat (2016 film), Empire (2015 TV series) and American Horror Story: 1984

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Liberty (Misuri) para niños

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