Archive for Thursday, June 24, 2004

Cities near K.C., Wichita leading population surge

––— Census Bureau estimates show continued decline in Western Kansas

June 24, 2004


— Most of the fastest-growing cities in Kansas last year are just outside either Kansas City or Wichita, according to new estimates from the Census Bureau.

Most of the fastest-declining cities are small towns in northwest Kansas, according to the census estimates.

The figures, released today, suggest a continuation of two trends in Kansas: the growth of bedroom communities near the two largest metro areas and the decline of some small towns, particularly in the northwest part of the state.

"The migration from west to east, in a lot of cases, raises a number of questions about service delivery, the economics of units of government throughout the western two-thirds of Kansas," Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said. "I think the short-term, the shift in population is of some concern."

Spring Hill, along the border of Johnson and Miami counties, was the fastest-growing city in the state, the Census Bureau said in comparing its 2002 and 2003 population estimates. The census estimated the city gained 392 residents last year, growing to 3,745 from 3,353, or by 11.7 percent.

Lawrence, for the most part, held steady with an increase of .07 percent, to an estimated 82,120 people.

In all, according to the Census Bureau, the populations of 17 cities grew 3 percent or more last year. Including Spring Hill and Gardner, six of them are near the Kansas City metro area. The other four are: Basehor, Lansing, Tonganoxie and Louisburg.

Olathe, the Johnson County seat, saw its population grow 4 percent, to more than 105,000, according to the census estimates.

Six communities in which the population grew more than 3 percent are near the Wichita metro area: Goddard, Park City, Andover, Bentley, Maize and Kechi.

Meanwhile, 11 of the 16 cities that saw their populations drop 3 percent or more sit along Kansas Highway 96 or north of it and west of U.S. Highway 183. According to the census figures, they included four cities in Ness County alone: Bazine, Ransom, Ness City and Utica.

Another four such cities are in north-central Kansas. They are Cedar, Gaylord, Scandia and Natoma.

The community showing the largest percentage decline is tiny Waldron, along the Oklahoma border in Harper County. The Census Bureau estimated that Waldron's population dropped from 17 to 16, or by 5.9 percent.

The Census Bureau released figures for the state and its 105 counties in April, estimating that Kansas' overall population grew by about 0.4 percent.

Basehor was the fastest-growing city in the Douglas-Leavenworth County area, according to new Census Bureau estimates.Here's a look at growth in some of the area cities, according to the bureau:
City 2002 2003 %
Basehor 2,518 2,715 7.8
Lansing 9,587 10,032 4.6
Tonganoxie 3,176 3,317 4.4
Lawrence 81,522 82,120 .07

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