Douglas County is still growing, according to new numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau, but its growth remains at a historically slow pace.
On July 1, 2011, Douglas County’s population stood at 112,211 people, up 1,385 people from the 2010 Census. For the 15-month period, Douglas County grew by 1.2 percent. Converted to an annual rate, that’s just under 1 percent for the year, which is about what the Census Bureau found the county’s growth rate to be in the decade of the 2000s.
That growth rate was the slowest for Douglas County since the Great Depression, and the new Census estimates confirm what real estate and construction statistics have indicated: A population rebound hasn’t yet started.
But there was good news in the Census Bureau’s latest population estimates. Among some of the findings:
• Douglas County’s population growth rate was twice as strong as the statewide growth rate. The Census Bureau estimates Kansas grew by 0.6 percent, or 18,120 people, for the 15-month period.
• Douglas County continues to be the fifth-most-populous county in the state, and isn’t likely to move from that spot for quite awhile. The top six counties and their populations:
• In terms of actual numbers, Douglas County added the fourth most people to its population out of Kansas’ 105 counties. During the 15 months, Douglas County added 1,385 people. Coming in ahead of Douglas was Johnson, Sedgwick and Riley — home of Manhattan — which added 1,882 people.
• In terms of percentage, Douglas County was the 13th fastest growing county in the state, just ahead of Leavenworth County and just behind Pottawatomie County. The five fastest growing counties by percentage were:
Wallace County: 2.8 percent
Geary County: 2.8 percent
Riley County: 2.6 percent
Hodgeman County: 2.6 percent
Ford County: 2.1 percent
• Births in Douglas County continue to outpace deaths in the county, a trend that was not true in 44 Kansas counties. During the 15-month period, there were 1,539 births and 705 deaths.
• People moving to Douglas County from a foreign country were a significant part of the county’s population growth. In fact, it was a much larger factor than people moving to Douglas County from somewhere in the United States. The Census estimates the net number of new international residents was 427 for the period, compared with 126 residents who moved here from somewhere else in the U.S. Statewide the trend is even greater.
Statewide, the trend is even more pronounced. The number of new international residents in the state — which does include members of the military who lived overseas but have moved back to the states — totaled 5,563 in Kansas. On the other side of the ledger, the number of Kansans who left the state was greater than residents from other states who moved into Kansas. About 8,000 more people left the state than moved in from elsewhere in the U.S.
• Population growth was a mixed bag for area counties. Here’s a look at several:
Franklin: 25,931, down 61 people, -0.2 percent
Jefferson: 18,941, down 185, -1.0 percent
Johnson: 552,991, up 8,812, 1.6 percent
Leavenworth: 77,176, up 949, 1.2 percent
Miami: 32,715, down 72, -0.2 percent
Osage: 5,635, up 11, 0.1 percent
Shawnee: 178,941, up 1,007, 0.6 percent
Wyandotte: 158,224, up 719, 0.5 percent
Population estimates for cities were not released by the Census Bureau. Those estimates are expected to be released in July.