Wichita Minorities now make up at least half the population in four of the state’s 18 largest cities, new Census numbers show.
The figures show that non-Hispanic whites are now a minority in Liberal, Dodge City and Kansas City, Kan. And in Garden City, at least 50 percent of residents are minorities.
The figures, which come from the American Community Survey, were released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau. They offer the first look at the demographics of medium-size cities since the 2000 Census.
In Wichita, the state’s largest city, the non-Hispanic white population has dipped below 70 percent since the 2000 Census. The figures suggest non-Hispanic whites will remain a majority in the city for the next 30 years or more.
Sixteen of the 18 Kansas cities in the survey have become racially diverse since 2000, with the suburban communities of Derby, Olathe and Overland Park showing some of the fastest gains in minority population.
The figures show that 35 percent of Derby’s growth has come from new minority residents. From 2000 to 2007, Derby’s black population rose from 0.9 percent to 3 percent, while its Hispanic population rose from 2.8 to 5.4 percent.
City Manager Kathy Sexton said the diversity was partly a reflection of the number of military families moving into the city. “McConnell Air Force Base has had a pretty healthy impact on that racial diversity,” she said. “You get a lot of people here who’ve lived in a lot of different places.”