Previous   Next

What do you think about a Census Bureau report that suggests Lawrence has stopped growing?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on June 21, 2006

Browse the archives

Photo of Molly Roth

“I don’t believe it has because of all the new development out west. As long as there all these new houses being built, I would assume it’s still growing.”

Photo of Ricky Brown

“I could agree with that. I feel like there is very limited employment opportunity here for people after college. We attract a lot of highly talented and diverse people, but there are very few reasons for them to stay.”

Photo of Aaron Pillar

“That doesn’t seem accurate to me. It may have slowed down a bit, but there’s too much construction and building going on.”

Photo of Haley O'Neal

“I’ve only lived here for a year, but I wouldn’t think that it’s stopped growing because we’re bringing in new businesses all the time and the suburb areas are expanding.”

Related story


Janis Pool 11 years, 11 months ago

We my see the new houses being built and purchased, but older homes, and rentals especially, are sitting empty much more. Population fills all of these. So I guess I am surprised we didn't drop more.

tell_it_like_it_is 11 years, 11 months ago

It couldn't be because you can't pick your nose without someone making a rule about it could it?

gontek 11 years, 11 months ago

I heard that the growth rate has dropped from 2% to 0.5% annually. Lawrence is definitely growing slower than in the last few years vs the 80's and 90's growth rate. Raltors agree with these numbers. Maybe someone in the planning department doesn't, and they can determine that based on new building permits and plat filings.

Maybe Lawrence has outgrown itself as a small town and now we are seeing the rapid growth moving to Desoto, Eudora, Baldwin, Lecompton, Tongie, Basehor, and other surrounding areas.

Plus there is the sewer issue, potentially slowing down development.

tell_it_like_it_is 11 years, 11 months ago

I guess I shouldn't have said that! Now there'll be a rule against that too! Sorry folks!

Redzilla 11 years, 11 months ago

I for one am looking forward to moving to a place where growth isn't crushing the extant population. Here in Tampa, 100 people a day move to the area. The infrastructure is just about to collapse in a number of places. The highways are choked, the main streets are gridlocked, the schools are overwhelmed, house prices are sky-high and not going to fall anytime soon, and new suburban housing developments are eating up all the surrounding countryside. In 5 years my 10-mile drive to work has gone from 15 minutes to 35. So, just be careful what you wish for.

Liberty 11 years, 11 months ago

When the city becomes "people unfriendly", people leave. Fireworks ban, smoking ban, attempted cell phone ban, etc. After the real estate bubble pops in Lawrence, what business base is left to support the people? They probably went to Olathe because housing costs are less, (get more house for the same money) and jobs are somewhat more plentiful and it doesn't cost as much to go to work in KC from Olathe. No more K-10 commute, more gas money in your pocket.

Jayhawk226 11 years, 11 months ago


plumberscrack is accurate in the fact that a census count can never be accurate.

But, I care little about the true accuracy of the census count....and more about what I have been stating on here for a while (including yesterday's posts).

The State of Kansas has continued to shift population to the far Northeastern corner of Kansas--in Douglas, Johnson and probably soon to be Miami counties.

The State of Kansas is hardly growing in overall population at the rate it should, the significant development and growth in those aforementioned counties is from a population shift--leaving smaller towns where people feel less opportunity and quality-of-life, to the counties where ample jobs, better schools and I guess cookie-cutter suburban homes exist.

Lawrence probably should not be alarmed, after all the "accurate" census figures indicate population dropped by a WHOLE 26 residents. And as plumberscrack was getting at, it's probably not even an accurate count.

The real factor here is, as the author opened the story with, is Lawrence falling into the same trend as other central-, western-Kansas small towns that have eroded into virtual ghost towns?

Will a Homestead Act be needed to get residents to actually reside in Lawrence, with tax abatements?

Something tells me Lawrence has little to worry about...but let this be a little indication that Lawrence is not experiencing that overwhelming growth of people "dying to get inside city boundaries." The boom is over, and so too perhaps, is the willingness of people to reside ina town with so many bothersome factors, as they may see it.

Man, "white flight" from Lawrence....who woulda thunk?

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

you mean to tell me our little island of progressive thought is shrinking?

facts are facts. if you don't believe lawrence has stopped growing, the progressive answer is....."move!"

it's called new urbanism. it's called stop growth at any cost. it's called booger, rundle and schauner.

H_Lecter 11 years, 11 months ago

It could be the work of a serial killer...but, where could the bodies be?

Jayhawk226 11 years, 11 months ago

Chicago's John Wayne Gacy buried his victim's under his house on Sunnyside Avenue.

Perhaps these victims are under a newly-constructed roundabout of some sort....say, on Harvard???

(Hmmm...certainly wasn't a self-indictment!!>>

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 11 months ago

My mom's house is up for sale in North Lawrence. Shes ready to head home to Cali now thay my grandma is gone. She told me that there are 7 other houses for sale within a block of her, 4 including hers on her street.

I don't know where everyone is moving to over there, but they sure have more houses for sale popping up everywhere.

Topside 11 years, 11 months ago

Once again a Barista has shown us the way...and only after living here a year. I'm sure she has a good read on Lawrence.

Mike Blur 11 years, 11 months ago

Here's the real reason. The fundies out in west Lawrence have all hit their mid-to-late 30s, too old to pop out any more kids beyond the 4 to 6 they already have, and the kids, ranging from ages 6 to 16, are too young yet to procreate.

Give it a few years. Lawrence will get even more conservative as the next wave of freshly-minted neocons springs forth.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

Consumer, you might be on to something. I've seen a few new roundabouts installed in Michigan, too. On the way to my brother's house, I passed a new mall being built (the largest mall in the county -- bigger than the outlet malls), and along with the mall, they've built a roundabout. One of the new high schools in my area has not one, but two. And I know there are others in southeast Michigan.

Unfortunately, they are not in the right spots. They put the roundabouts in busy city areas, instead of the rural intersections where they would do the most good (and aggravate the fewest people until we Americans learned how to drive them). No more rural four-way stops or, even worse, rural traffic lights.

(Of course, we also have the beloved Michigan lefts. I didn't believe it was actually a regional thing until I read about a hockey player who moved to Michigan from California and had no idea how to execute one.)

Okay. Off the topic of traffic control devices and on the topic of declining population, I think there's actually an alien abduction problem right now; Michigan is losing population, too. Perhaps the entire nation is losing population to outer space! But it would be cooler if we were losing population to Inner Space, because that was a fun movie.

gphawk89 11 years, 11 months ago

I wonder how many out-of-towners read these comments and decide that maybe Lawrence is not the place to move to right now? I enjoyed my years in Lawrence and always thought it'd be a neat place to move back to and raise a family, but thorougly reading the LJW and these comments for the past few months has changed my mind. I mean, Boog as mayor/commissioner? I did a big-time double-take when I first read that. Boog was good for a few laughs when he was KU VP back in the 80's, but commissioner of a real city?? If the current city government is representative of the wishes of the majority of Lawrence residents, I want no part of it.

mooseamoose 11 years, 11 months ago

It's the fundies fault - they're only hearers of the word and not doers of the word because if they were doers of the word they would be multiplying.

And handling snakes and drinking deadly poison.

merrywidow033 11 years, 11 months ago

when will people realize that just because there are suburbs expanding, that does not always mean population growth? the mindset of many people is to leave the old, and move into the new. so a great deal of housing towards the centre of town may sit empty, while shoddily built houses explode around the edges of the towns. (i know, i lived in one for a while, and it fell apart as fast as they are built)

oy, time for work.

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

i think the pendulum is starting to swing to a business friendly mindset. the majority want growth. with this progressive historic legacy they have left us, my prediction is the progressives will be shown the door and that door will be slammed shut for years to come.

it's time for lawrence to stop being mean-spirited and divisive and get some business friendly commissioners. i wonder if this population decrease might actually date back to the 1920's. some good political ammunition for the next election, for sure.

here's is some information from the US Census for the Lawrence metropolitan area - i'm sure this includes surrounding communities so it doesn't reflect only lawrence's population:

1920........23,998 1930........25,143 1940........25,171 1950........34,086 1960........43,720 1970........57,932 1980........67,640 1990........81,798 2000........99,962

Present day lawrence....a decrease, but to what extent when factoring the surrounding communities of douglas county? people are moving to eudora and baldwin tells a story.

hopefully, more info to come if i can find it.

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

Here it is! guess i need to read the captions under the pictures ....provided by the JW

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 11 years, 11 months ago

There may be a lot of houses for sale but not everyone can afford them. I can't find a single thing that is decent for under 100K.


There is no way I could afford a payment like that, and Eudora, Desoto and Olathe are getting just as bad. Maybe if I hold out for a year or so people will come to their senses. In the meantime I'm wasting money renting, and wondering if it's too late for me to turn into a hermit and live in a cave somewhere in Arkinsaw.

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

first time since 1900 that lawrence has seen a decrease in population. good job progressives.

mert1717 11 years, 11 months ago

I belive that numbers will continue to go down. the traffic situation, plus increasing cost to live here will force people to leave to find it easier place to live.

Love the town but hate taking 20 minutes to go from east lawrence to west, and lets not talk about KU football or basketball days.

lunacydetector 11 years, 11 months ago

you mean that people want to live on the outskirts of lawrence, in the "sprawl" area? why would people want to live on the edge of town when the progressives want everyone to live in apartment buildings in the city center?

freedom, perhaps? a house with a backyard? say it ain't so....this is ruining the NOT Smart Growth philosophy for a utopian society.

H_Lecter 11 years, 11 months ago

jayhawk226, The flowers on some of the roundabouts do seem to be so well fertilized.

craigers 11 years, 11 months ago

Wouldn't this idea contradict the valuing of all our homes? I mean if value is determined by supply and demand, then we should have lower values and lower property taxes. More homes being built and less people to move into them seems like demand is less than the supply which would drive housing prices down. The system that is used to value homes doesn't seem to be very logical.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

Actually, I think a big new library would really bring people back into town.

Jayhawk226 11 years, 11 months ago

Maybe that other class of people...Topekans, are scaring people off.


Linda Aikins 11 years, 11 months ago

TOB - for you..

Web-posted Jun. 21, 11:33: AM GREENSBURG Q Matthew Aaron Towner was a loner who did not strike up conversations with other people, although he would reply if someone spoke to him, two of his acquaintances said Tuesday. But they said they never imagined that Towner might lash out and kill someone, then commit suicide.

"He was quiet, but never did I ever, ever think he would do anything like this, ever," said Nancy Reed, an employee of the E-Clips beauty salon who occasionally cut Towner's hair when he was in high school.

Reed's comments came less than a week after Towner, 29, apparently shot and killed 25-year-old Alicia Jo "A.J." Harding-Huebler before killing himself. Authorities discovered their bodies Friday night in the Duckwall's store where they both worked.

From Dodge City Daily Globe - there's more.

Godot 11 years, 11 months ago

If people are leaving Lawrence for the smaller towns in the county, all Lawrence has to do is annex the rest of the county and its has those rebels back in its tax-and-control clutches again.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 11 months ago

I wouldn't live in town...not even for a Klondike bar.

H_L, according to my dream the other night, the bodies are piled up in a garage. They didn't stink, though. I couldn't figure that one out. The culprits were a father and son team. Is there a h_l junior?

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

My god, I leave for a couple weeks and come back to find that everyone has turned into a bunch of whiners! "I can't smoke where ever I want to, I can't buy a big house with no money, I can't drive around cement circles, I can't talk to my friends on the phone while driving around cement circles, I can't fling explosives made by the Chinese into the air at will, I can't drive across the entire town in less than twenty minutes ... I can't ... I can't ... I can't! Boo hoo hoo!"

You conservatives need to stop whining so much! If you don't like those in office, vote them out. If you don't like the laws, work to change them, or accept the fact that your behavior shouldn't endanger others. If you want to drive across the entire town in less time than it takes to listen to "American Pie," move to a small town. If you can't afford a 100k home (a laughably low amount in other parts of the country where a starter home might cost 2 or 3 times as much), thank those who keep wages low yet enjoy massive tax breaks given to the wealthy in the past few years. But please -- quit whining already!! If you do, I'll provide the Klondike Bars.

H_Lecter 11 years, 11 months ago

Sue, There is a young Lecter He's a sick young man and I'm very proud. I hope the bodies were neatly stacked, but I have to say things stay fresher in the basement. Was there anything about a wood chipper in your dream?

Bea, Remember, Lawrence is in a red county, so that whining you hear is likely liberal. (that's redundant isn't it?)

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

H_L: I contributed to the shrinking numbers by moving, so I don't actually hear the whining -- I'm just basing my comments on what I am reading here today, which is coming primarily from the conservatives.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 11 months ago

TOB, the article may be too long. I tried sending it to you. Let me know what you get.

breeze 11 years, 11 months ago

For us, the compelling reasons to leave Lawrence had to do with low pay (both at KU and at a city of Lawrence job); insufficient childcare of good quality; public schools which are so-so and that doggone awful weather! Also high taxes and not enough good Mexican restaurants. But we knew some very fine people in Lawrence and we miss our friends. We also miss HyVee on 6th Street.

Aileen Dingus 11 years, 11 months ago

Beatrice- hear hear. If anybody wants a bit of a reality check, go to and put in 3 bedrooms, zip code 89434. See what you can find.

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

Daz -- I'm in Phoenix now -- I miss Wheatfields and Free State Brewery -- alot! For our housing, check out 85004. 2 bed 1 bath condos for 200K. 1600 sqft homes closer to 400. People there don't realize that the housing market is still fairly affordable in Lawrence.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 11 years, 11 months ago

Everyone seems to forget that Lawrence is a small town in KANSAS. It doesn't matter what houses go for anywhere else in the country.
I'm not whining that I can't afford a 100K house...I'm complaining that greed has gotten the better of people around here. I'm complaining about what 100K will and won't buy in this town. Look on sometime and plug in Lawrence. You might be surprised. It's as if people feel that they can put a price on something and eventually someone will pay it. Hopefully that will come to an end soon. By the way Aunt Bea, in case you're keeping a tally, I'm a liberal.

Aileen Dingus 11 years, 11 months ago

Eew. Phx sucks. lol

I had a 3br 1ba condo, roughly 1000sqf. They're listing for $194,000 right now in Sparks (NV). I'm so glad to be here.

Yes- Lawrence is higher than elsewhere in KS, but honestly folks- look around at what else is out there before you all turn into Chicken Little.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 11 months ago

Aunt Bea - CUTE!

I think a bit problem is that it is difficult to find good paying jobs in Lawrence in order to afford 100K (which here is DEFINITELY a fixer-upper).

flames_over_the_wasteland 11 years, 11 months ago

Wow, nobody's recognized the celebrity in the picture? I thought you were all products of mass culture.

brfts 11 years, 11 months ago

You all should come out to Denver if you want to see high prices...Lawrence is so much cheaper than here!

jayhawks71 11 years, 11 months ago

Hello correlation-causation fallacy, you rear your ugly head yet again. Here are some other correlations you can blame things on.

-"W" has been in office since the drop began, perhaps he is the cause? -The Patriot Act might be an influencing factor? -Best Buy coming to Lawrence also happened. -Vermont Street BBQ moved FROM Vermont St.- coincidence? -The State of Kansas has a fool for an Attorney General. -God joined the Kansas School Board; Darwin was ousted in a coup. -Nonsense reigns. -Kasold street repairs. -Furr's closing; Cici's opening. -Trailer parks closing.

Take your pick! How about that settler complex argument now?

sunflower_sue 11 years, 11 months ago

H_L, neatly stacked but no chipper that I could see. The dream was too comical to be a nightmare.

Welcome back, Bea! I've missed your reality checks...even if they do bounce from time to time.:o)

garrenfamily 11 years, 11 months ago

Most of you are exactly right. We moved to Tongie b/c we work in KC and got a brand new home for $40000 less than a 1980s home in Lawrence. My family might be able to afford a home in Lawrence, but we would not be able to enjoy anything the town has to offer because all of our money would be going to a house payment. The bubble must burst!

killjoy 11 years, 11 months ago

I saw this coming as soon as our homeless-friendly rating went down. If you care, you'll put a sign in your yard that says "Homeless people welcome here". and get a bumper sticker that says, "I (heart) Homeless People".

Linda Aikins 11 years, 11 months ago

Flames - Who is the celebrity in the pictures?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.