According to the latest US Census figures released in March, the state of Kansas is becoming more urban, despite its reputation as a rural stalwart on the nation’s landscape. Although the overall state population grew 2.1 percent in the seven years measured, only 17 of the state’s counties showed an increase in population between the years 2010-2107. The Kansas population now notches in at 2.9 million residents, up half a million since the last measurement was taken.
Not surprisingly, the greatest increase in growth was seen in the eastern counties due to their proximity to the Kansas City metropolitan area. The core of Kansas City, Johnson County, retained its title as the most populated county in the state with 591,000 residents, representing a growth of 8.6 percent since 2010. The growth of the urban center of Kansas City was also demonstrated in population increases in metro counties Leavenworth and Wyandotte. Neighboring counties Douglas and Shawnee also reported increases in residents flocking to the area for the booming job market and high demand for an educated workforce.
The Census Report echoes a recent Wichita State University study done in conjunction with the Center for Economic Development and Business Research which revealed that nearly 70 percent of Kansans now reside in urban settings. Sedgwick County, home of the state’s largest city Wichita, landed in second place overall with 513,000 residents. Neighboring Butler County houses the majority of population spillover from Sedgwick County and also saw significant growth. The other counties that posted population increases are Chase, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Linn, Logan, Miami, Pottawatomie, Riley, and Wallace. The more rural counties that grew were helped along by new agricultural and national defense job creations.