Previous   Next

Why do you think the population of Kansas has become so much older?

Asked at Borders, 700 N.H. on March 10, 2006

Browse the archives

Photo of Vickie Avery

“The young people are leaving because we aren’t creating any reasons for them to stay. We are the ones that are supposed to be giving them something to strive for, but it just isn’t there.”

Photo of Craig Aronson

“The only thing I can think of is that the agricultural-based economy has changed. A lot of people are moving away instead of staying on their family farms.”

Photo of Anne Bradford

“Because Kansas is such a great place to live, they don’t want to move away.”

Photo of Kirk Bradford

“It’s just a good, comfortable state to live in. Life is good, and I think people feel at ease here.”


Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

It's because we have a ban on Grecian formula here.

Purell 12 years, 2 months ago

Roundabouts are driving away the young

avhjmlk 12 years, 2 months ago

You know, the KCMO zoo sells their Zoo Manu by the bucket, I think.

killjoy 12 years, 2 months ago


(humor: depends - older population)

trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 2 months ago

i have lived here for 36yrs and i will live here till i die i love kansas.........

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

That's the great thing about cattle -- you can even sell their pooooo :)

craigers 12 years, 2 months ago

I am really feeling hungry right now after my last post.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

What a shocker -- dorothy is a fan of Kansas! (okay, somebody had to point it out.)

tpatric 12 years, 2 months ago

Why is it becoming gray? The red state is trying to become a blue state and is only halfway there.

junco_partner 12 years, 2 months ago

Last time I checked kansas only has 105 counties. Great job of checking the facts!

kcwarpony 12 years, 2 months ago

Well said, trinity. I love Kansas, it's some of the people I can't stand. Face it, Kansas ain't for sissies.

avhjmlk 12 years, 2 months ago

Actually, sun, you don't even have to bring the brewskies. We've got home brew (we're REAL Kansans, baby!)

avhjmlk 12 years, 2 months ago

I'm married to a "small town Kansas" guy and we LOVE going home to visit family.

And, yes, it is the smell of money...

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

In fact, bea, now that you mention it, I'll take that Arizona gauntlet you're throwin' down, there, missie.

My state can totally beat up your state.

Alison Roberts 12 years, 2 months ago

you know.. when i was a little bit younger i didnt want to leave ks.

i was just planning on staying in the kc/lawrence area...

but now... i cant wait to leave.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 2 months ago

avhjyoubetchamlk, It doesn't get any better than grilling! I'm there! You get all the T-bones, ribeye's, and sides. I'll bring the beer. ;o)

craigers 12 years, 2 months ago

I like Kansas. Even though sometimes people get on my nerves, but that is the nature of people. We all have our moments.

avhjmlk 12 years, 2 months ago

craigers--you know, that's probably why cauliflower and broccoli give people such bad gas. Both of them REEK!

Our fridge currently smells exactly as you described it--like a rotten diaper--because we've got fresh cauliflower and broccoli in water in tupperware containers.

Linda Endicott 12 years, 2 months ago

I've never LIVED in a big city...I never said I hadn't visited there and talked to people who did...

My main point is that I love Kansas and I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. If someone isn't satisfied with living here, then by all means they should move elsewhere. If they aren't happy here, why should they stay?

Nothing to do? I wish...

LongGoneFromLarryville 12 years, 2 months ago

KU also has a top 50 bschool Don't forget about Wichita Special Education program has also been historically ranked in the top 3

Great. Nice work, guys. Top 50, like "2 states are worse" ?

Have to say (as an escapee for the last 17 years) that it's embarrassing to admit my heritage. "Kansas, it's the new Alabama" - that's what the license plates say now, right?

Y'all need to reign in that right wing fundamentalist wacko faction if you ever want to earn anybody's respect. Sorry to be so blunt.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

Hey badger, I'm not gonna mess with Texas! I will, however, hold a grudge against all y'alls over the Bush aristocracy, um, I mean presidency. (You might have a chance to return the grudge if McCain gets annointed in a couple of years.)

passionatelibra 12 years, 2 months ago

blue73harley: I moved from Alaska to Kansas because of the winters and it was hard to leave. But I can understand the need for warmth! I love Kansas but I am still a Cheechako...

l_eustacy 12 years, 2 months ago

I think the young people who have the ability to reason are scared away by stupid questions like this.

Staci Dark Simpson 12 years, 2 months ago

Crazy- To add to your lightning story, I was petrified to get out of my car in Florida during a storm. I have never seen so many and so close lightining strikes in my life. I would sit in the car in the middle of the seat with my hands in my lap and pray lightning didn't hit the car.

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

This city/country yah-yahing is silly!! What if everyone wanted to live in the country??? Then the only empty spaces would be in the cities, right? :P

l_chick: here's a high five for the posters who kept nagging until someone made the change. But I noticed that they waited until they thought no one else would be reading or posting. They didn't know our l_chick!!! Thanks for looking back and bringing us up to date on the correction of that faux pas :)

Texas definitely demonstrated the size of its heart after Katrina!! Both native and new Texans engendered a lot of good PR for the state.

badger, I also had difficulty with rooms for our playover in SA coming home. This is the first year I've been unable to find affordable rooms on the River Walk. But I managed to get a pretty good deal in one of the historic hotels. I love history so it will be quite enjoyable.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

Cea: thanks for lernin me rite! (I thought for sure if I was talkin bout the whole republic of Tejas that I needed to add the plural "s" at the end of all y'all. Live and lern.)

Hannibal: Take a look at the photo of Craig A. Is it me, or is he one of the carnivorous clowns out of makeup?

craigers 12 years, 2 months ago

That is very true about being able to sell their poo as well as eat them(the cow not the poo). :)
avhjmlk, that is awesome about them investigating the pig smell. I have thought that for a long time. Something that smells that bad can't be good for you. But then again broccoli is good for you and I think it smells like a child's dirty diarhea diaper. Oh well. Happy Friday folks, have a great weekend.

Staci Dark Simpson 12 years, 2 months ago

I love Kansas!! I have lived in a suburb of Washington DC and on the coast in FLorida and return to KS every time. I did love FLorida but I lived in a Cat 2 evacuation area which was a little scary. But I enjoyed walking on the beach daily. As for the high humidity and giant man eating mosquitos, don't miss that. But we didn't pay state income tax, car tags where less than $50, and there is a lot to do. When we rolled back into KS and got back towards the country I was never so excited to smell cow sh&t in my life!! We got it good here!!

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

badger, I tried through several of the major chains (since we have a child traveling with us didn't want to end up in the Bates Motel :) Each one has an automatic message, in red text, "Due to the devastating effects of Hurrican Katrina, evacuees and rescee workers have filled some hotels in Texas. If you are traveling to the area, please call the hotel in advance to ensure your room will be available." I made many calls and managed to find confirmable (and affordable) rooms in Waco. Thank goodness I have long distance in my cell phone plan :)

Maybe the bands are the reason the Austin motels were either full or outrageously high, I don't know (although I hate to openly admit on the board that there is something I don't know :)

Harry_Manback 12 years, 2 months ago

I'm going to move when I graduate because I want to live somewhere with more culture and more things to do. Also, I intend to have a family someday, and I don't want to raise my kids with some of the values that a lot of people here seem to have. A lot of people say Kansas is a good place to raise kids, but I disagree. I think it's way too conservative and a little too homogeneous.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

And TOB and I (and others) know that there is extreme beauty in the southwest part of the state. BTW, Salina is NOT western Kansas!

Confrontation 12 years, 2 months ago

"Happiness comes from within. Not from where you live."

I can't say I completely buy that one. Obviously, if you're "depressed" person with a whole lot of issues, then you're not going to be happy anywhere other than fully medicated. When you live in a town where you have to hold more than one job and can barely make rent, then there's a problem. Especially when you hold a Master's degree. Also, this town has to be one of the most boring cities in the U.S., unless you are obsessed with art, theater, and overpriced Mass stores. Lawrence has bad streets, horrible landlords, overpriced housing, and ridiculous planning. The fact that Lawrence houses so many Democrats is really the only positive, other than KU Basketball. You better all pray that Self can keep up a good team, since that's the main attraction to this town. Yes, I don't like this town, and I am planning to leave ASAP. So for all of you who say, "If you don't like it, blah, blah, blah," I am leaving and good riddance to me :)

avhjmlk 12 years, 2 months ago

Sunny--you got it, sista! Family Beef ribs, strip, roast, we got it all. (Well, we will at the end of April when they butcher again...we've actually run out for the moment and are buying gasp s t o r e - b o u g h t b e e f (if you can believe it)!

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Cealleach - Sorry to hear about your motel room woes.

Are you sure it's evacuees? We have few of them left in motel rooms, to my knowledge, out of our original 5000 or so, but most of them have been placed in apartments, at least.

If it's anything in the next couple of weeks, it's more likely to be SXSW than anything else. A lot of the bands are already in town, as well as the people coming in for the film festival part of it.

jonas 12 years, 2 months ago

badger: Once I move to Tokyo I'll take that bet.

As for the question, I think it has to do with my super-aging satelite beam. Everyone here is now 276!

Of course, I'm offsetting some of that with all the skin softeners and general nutrients I'm pumping into the water.

avhjmlk 12 years, 2 months ago

KU has the #1 public administration program in the country.

I think the Special Education program has also been historically ranked in the top 3 or so, definitely sometimes #1.

sgtwolverine 12 years, 2 months ago

I don't know if it's still true, but for at least the first year of its existence, Michigan's top tourist attraction was a sporting goods store, too. Of course, it probably helps that it's maybe half an hour from the Ohio border.

It's funny -- I always knew there were tourist traps with gift shops, but Cabela's manages to be a tourist trap that IS a shop.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 2 months ago

dorothy, my in-laws just got back from CR. They said it was a great place "to visit."

craigers, maybe we can get gnome to post a recipe for garlic encrusted ribeye. YUMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reason #143 for loving KS: fresh beef!

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

curioso: with a few more years and traveling under your belt you will find that there is something worse than small town bigotry -- big city bigotry. Their just bigoted about different things (on the surface).

I think it is natural for young people, particularly those who have been in one area most or all of their lives to want to experience other places. But that's pretty much true of all young people, and it is not a bad thing. The world is big, people should try to find their place in it. However, it is not necessary to put down others who have come to feel that Kansas is their place.

Kansas getting grey, big deal, so am I :) If grey can pay, who cares?

Ceallach 12 years, 2 months ago

bea, bea, bea! The plural is all y'all, not y'alls! Sheesh! Buy em books, send em to school, nothin helps.

Although I love Texas (glad your not messin with it bea :), but I had to spend way to much time finding a motel room that I (or nearly anyone else) could afford for my trip down and back! Seems many, many rooms are still occupied by evacuees. That of course allows all those northerners who came south and built motel chains to keep their rooms at premium rates. As a result we had to make big changes in our travel plans.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

San Marcos TX has a Cabela's. I doubt it's even in the state's top 10 tourist attractions. Then again, we have Padre Island and Big Bend and the Alamo and scads of state parks and Austin with twelve or so music and film festivals a year, and the San Antonio Zoo and Sea World with Shamu and lots of cheap flights here on Southwest, so I suppose the deck was stacked against Cabela's from the start, really.

Confrontation 12 years, 2 months ago

I know my time in Kansas is limited. My spouse has a Master's degree that is completely useless in Kansas, and we've been trying to get out of here for a while. I will miss some of Kansas, since my family is here. I will not miss Lawrence, other than KU Men's Basketball.

verity 12 years, 2 months ago

Craigers, we call that smell black gold.

And RonBurgundy, you posted "you usually don't go to college to become a farmer". Yes, many people do go to college to become farmers and stockmen/women and to learn how to run a business.

Many of you are equating small towns and rural areas with ignorance and lack of education. From my personal observations, many of the best students in college come from these areas.

avhjmlk 12 years, 2 months ago

You know, craigers, the EPA is just starting to investigate whether hog farms will have to be regulated based on the air toxins they put out. I heard that on NPR a few days ago.

And, for those of you who want to leave Kansas as retirees because it's too expensive to live here, you're completely ignoring the smaller towns that have WAY LOWER costs of living. You can buy a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house in central Kansas for what you can buy a 2 bedroom, 1 bath fixer-upper in Lawrence....

craigers 12 years, 2 months ago

Confrontation, how can you say they like less pollution? Usually in small towns you have farmers with cattle and i don't know if that is titled air pollution but it should be cause those things stink. :) I am just glad they smell better being cooked.

avhjmlk 12 years, 2 months ago

Family Beef all the way!!!

Sunny, you and I need to do some grillin'!

samsnewplace 12 years, 2 months ago

How about mountains, oceans, opportunities unlimited in other areas, too many things to list. It is a great place if you want a slower paced lifestyle, I personally love it here...but I do hate the winters as someone posted earlier.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

avhjiagreemlk - if it's the one that says "| 40 counties (more than one-third)", you are correct. But the more than 1/3 implies that there are less that 120, which is true!

Canada seems to have some of the worst dust storms, as I look in google.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

I'm pretty sure the wind just blows the little ones away -- you have to be older, stronger, and heavier to fight against it. Or Craig A. at top scares the youngens away. (Smile - its a camera!)

TOB: "Most people in Lawrence that bitch about Kansas have never been more than 1 mile on either side of I-70 or the Turnpike." You got some documentation to back up this outlandish observation there bub? : )

I enjoyed my time in Kansas and think Lawrence is a pleasant town, but I never was completely able to use the "L" word since I do prefer big cities. By the way, my state, Arizona, can beat up your state because we have one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The number one tourist attraction in Kansas is a sporting goods store. nananananana

trinity 12 years, 2 months ago

rightthinker, don't let the door hit ya in the a on the way out. sorry you don't appreciate the beauty in this state.

and badger, i still can't make it through an entire post from you; makes me wish there was a line limit(ban??)on posts, lmao-but i'm sure you make perfect sense.

hey, everybody's free to feel the way they do; i happen to love it here, don't plan to leave, when i get a wanderlust i travel elsewhere&see the sights; but i'm always, always happy to cross back in to kansas either in the air or on a road.

acg 12 years, 2 months ago

When I was growing up my father was a nuclear welding engineer. We moved from nuke plant to nuke plant and from birth til I was in my early twenties, I had moved over 30 times. I did a lot of traveling by myself from 20-23 and saw the US again. There are a lot of beautiful places out there but every single state has its issues, whether they be taxes, rude people, bad weather patterns, expensive housing, no available job markets, etc. They also all have their upsides. Any place can be home, it's all in the way you look at things. I know a guy who lives in NYC and he never goes to the shows or the Nicks games or out to Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty. He just lives his life there like we live our lives here. When he comes to visit, he loves it here because he can breathe and relax and he enjoys farmland and small town America. The grass is always greener, right people?

canyon_wren 12 years, 2 months ago

Very good points, verity! I'm sure that is one of the significant reasons. And as s_sue pointed out, there are LOTS of "all-alike" houses being built in Kansas by young people--it's not the "grays" who are building those--so there are some young people either staying or moving to the state--which means the older ones (with larger incomes) are coming back as well.

verity 12 years, 2 months ago

There's a trend for retired people to move to midwestern states because of the lower cost of living and also to move to college towns because of the cultural benefits (such as the Lied Center in Lawrence). Could that be part of the reason Kansas is "graying"?

A number of my relatives who moved to other states have returned to Kansas after retirement. They have bought houses and are spending money here.

Many people over 65 have a fairly large disposable income. Having a large population of older people could be very helpful to our economy.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 2 months ago

Liberty, I live in rural LV co and I believe I pay some of the highest property taxes in the state. Can't site you a source and maybe it's changed recently, but I think, tax wise, it would be cheaper for me to move to Lawrence. Anyone know property tax rates for sure? I still have a Lawrence address so I pay city taxes for Lawrence, as well.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 12 years, 2 months ago

I went to study in Costa Rica a few years ago. Beautiful place with mountains, rainforests, great beaches..., but at one point I just was homesick for more than just my family. I thought it was just living in a larger city than what I was use to, or just functioning in a second language all day. Then I stopped by the KU office at UCR. Julie, the secretary, had just received some of her books from home. In it was a book of photos from Kansas. I spent the next hour poring over it. I realized I missed Kansas. The sky and the sunsets are beautiful. Mountains and trees are great, but they make me claustrophobic (sp?). If you can't see the beauty of the plains, you have stunted senses. The beauty is more subtle, but just as breathtaking. It's just not as "in you face" as a mountain. The plains in the fall have as much color as the trees of Vermont, you just have to look down, not up. And when you do look up, you get the most awesome sky. Also, our weather has it's extremes, but at least it isn't boring. I'd visit Costa Rica again, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Confrontation 12 years, 2 months ago

Unlike rightthinker, I do not feel that those living in small towns are backwards. What makes them backwards? Is it that they enjoy less traffic, less crime, and less air pollution? I come from a town of less than 100 people. The last murder was waaaay back in the Santa Fe Trail years. There's no shootings outside of nightclubs, carjackings, or burglaries. I love going back to visit my family in our small town. There are no idiots trying to cut you off in the traffic, no waiting at stoplights for 10 minutes, no fear of walking after dark, and no annoying soccer moms trying to kill you with their minivans. Ahhhh, that's what I call heaven. Most who live there do have to commute for work, but it's never more than 30 minutes. My family and others in that town are hardworkers who don't live off welfare like a large section of Lawrence. They also aren't crazy-religious like the Phelps gang. How are small-towners backwards? They must be psychotic not to enjoy the hectic city lifestyle.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 2 months ago

I've always lived in Kansas and, backwoods as it may be, I love it here. It's home.

And I agree with the "see the world" comment, and that there isn't much for young'uns to do here.

And, yes, I'm old.

wichita_reader 12 years, 2 months ago

I think perevious posters have pretty much summed up why Kansas is generally becoming gray.

Camping in the Flint Hills can be an incredibly spiritual experience. The sunsets and sunrises are amazing, and the night sky is nothing but spectacular.

Elk City Lake and State Park in Southeast Kansas, Montgomery County, I think, is a nice road trip, too. Lots of neat hiking trails and scenery.

avhjmlk 12 years, 2 months ago

junco--I thought that at first, too (about the number of counties they referenced in the article) but if you look closely, it's actually a "|" (the button by the square brackets on your keyboard that looks like two hyphens stacked end-on-end). I think that the bullets in the printed article didn't transfer well to the digital format, so ignore what looks like a "1" and the number makes more sense.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 2 months ago

I know a Rhodes Scholar...and he stayed in KS.

As far as all the young people moving out of state: Who the he!! are all these young people moving in all around me? Building all their big ugly "stamp out another one" houses? If some of you hadn't noticed, houses are sprouting up like rag weed on a cow turd. I say to everyone who doesn't like it here (and I'm not originally from here) MOVE! GO AWAY! The country around here is no longer the country. Sad, very sad! I want my country back. rant officially over...for now

Topside 12 years, 2 months ago

Kudos to TOB, about people that bitch, and to Vickie Avery (above), she may be one acct. speciallist but she is pure genious. She nailed the reason. I try to think of my high school class (250) and at least half aren't in Kansas anymore. Even my close circle of guys I hung out with I am the only one living in Kansas out of seven.

RonBurgandy 12 years, 2 months ago

I missed inmate's comments also TOB, I feel slightly cheated.

I think a lot of people are turned off on moving here, or staying here, b/c we are so landlocked. At least I heard that from a few people when I lived on the east coast for a year.

I have also known a lot of people who have moved away, who now say they really miss living here.

Liberty 12 years, 2 months ago

I agree with sgtwolverine. And I would add that not only are the small towns quieter, the rural areas are much more affordable than the city. The taxes are lower, it is quieter, you can have more room and shoot fireworks while being more self sufficient than living in the city. There are no roundabouts. Because the farm can perform for you, (providing food and income from the produce). The need for that high paying job to pay for all the city services that you are required to pay for in a city is much less appealing. Many people looking for retirement, that question whether they will have enough to retire on can find their answer in the rural areas of Kansas. Lower taxes outside of the city while being near a small town for the convenience of the city stores and medical care makes a pretty nice setting.

mom_of_three 12 years, 2 months ago

I was born in Kansas and have lived here since a toddler. I have lived in small towns, and in Wichita and now Lawrence. I love it. Perhaps it is the safety and familiarity of it, but I don't want to move. Have thought about it once or twice, but the thought didn't last long.

Many people are mentioning agriculture/farming as the main industry, but don't forget about Wichita, and the large aircraft manufacturing industry. It used to be the Aircraft Capitol of the World.

But young people are leaving because the $$ is elsewhere.
And I do like to watch the T Storms form.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

TOB - I'll withdraw that assertion if you like. My info is mostly anecdotal, as I attended one of the universities I mentioned and know that program that drew people in was (on average) 75-80% out-of-state students, and accounted for a substantial quantity of the school's population.

I lived in Lawrence for several years interacting with students, and encountered a whole lot of kids from JoCo, and some from smaller towns in Kansas, but very very few, comparatively, from out of state. I don't think I ever met anyone who said, "The (blank) program is so good and well-known I came here from New Jersey (or Florida, or Oregon)." The few out of state students I met came from neighboring states.

sgtwolverine 12 years, 2 months ago

I want to note that I'm not against traveling around and seeing what you can see when you can see it, and even living elsewhere. I think it's great to see other parts of the country (and the world). But do it because you want to have a broader range of experiences, and not because you think other places are so much better than where you are. Every city on earth is screwed up in some way, and if you live there, you will find it. And eventually you might even begin to see what's good about that place you left. I can promise you, with few exceptions, there really is something good about where you live.

Hey, I live near Detroit, and there are even good things about that city. Maybe fewer than there were a long time ago, but there are still some positives. (But the Pistons don't count -- they don't play in Detroit.)

sgtwolverine 12 years, 2 months ago

You know, even the most interesting things can become considerably less interesting when you live around them. At some point you have to appreciate your home because it's home, and not because it has all kinds of interesting, exciting things around it. If a place has to be constantly fun and interesting, even the biggest cities can become dull.

I know there are people who move out of big exciting cities to small towns because they want a slower, quieter home. That's been happening to my hometown. (The stupidity of that sort of trend is that the more people who move to a small town for the small-town atmosphere, the less small-town atmosphere there is.)

YourItalianPrincess 12 years, 2 months ago

I like living in Kansas, but Lawrence could use more things for families to do. Everyone in here has already heard my speech about a family fun center, so I'm not going to go there again.

If Kansas or our fair city of Lawrence wants families to stay then give them something to enjoy. Food 4 Less is just sitting around something with it. Buiding a possible new sports complex is great, but I would like to see something for family entertainment.

TGIF to all of you and have a fantastic day.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Ceallach - those messages have been up since September.

In Houston and San Antonio, I believe large populations are still living in hotels (though I've only heard that definitely about San Antonio - perhaps omb could enlighten us on the situation in Space City?), and on the further northeast parts of the Texas coast, some of the relief workers handling Katrina and Rita damage are still being housed in hotels. I do understand that a hotel room and a rental car cannot be had for love nor money these days in Austin, due to the music festival, but we're raking in the revenue hand over fist.

This is good because last I heard FEMA still hasn't paid the city a dime of promised funds to house evacuees, nor have they put up any actual money to cover the cost of increased school enrollment. The mayor basically said, "Let's do what we have to do and worry about the money later," which (since it all worked out OK and Austin got lots of good press for its handling of the evacuees) was probably the best thing he could have said, but if the general folk of the city hadn't come up with time, money, space in their homes, food, clothes, and household goods, the city'd be pretty heavily in the red. As it is, we really need a revenue-positive year because we figure this September we'll be doing it all again.

imagold 12 years, 2 months ago

Ahhhh, Kansas and Amen, Trinity. I'll be right here with you closing the door behind the whiners.

RonBurgandy 12 years, 2 months ago

I love it here, I have been here my entire life (minus one year).

The problem is that there are only three big, or semi-big, population areas in the state (Johnson County, Topeka-Lawrence, and Wichita). Other than that, it is all small town/rural/agricultural living. Young people don't want to be farmer's anymore, especially b/c being a farmer is very hard work and not a whole lot of money. Also, more people are going to college, and you usually don't go to college to become a farmer (I could insert a "unless you go to a certain college", but I think everyone already understands that) and you don't usually get rich by living in a small town. So young people either move to the bigger areas of the state, or branch out into the rest of the country/world.

bmwjhawk 12 years, 2 months ago

It's because of the seat belt law. Repeal it immediately!

Kathleen Christian 12 years, 2 months ago

Young people want to live on their own - but Kansas does not offer decent jobs much less a living wage for them to do so. Plus the housing (in Lawrence at least) is way above the the cost of living that most people make, especially young people. I've lived here 9 years and I've been ready to go back East for sometime now. Not that Kansas is a bad place - there just is no future for young people to build a career with much less make a decent living to support a family without struggling through ALL the pitefalls of life and have something for retirement.

Older people become stuck in their ways or are not alway able to move because of their fixed incomes.

As I've said many times, you want young people to like being in Lawrence? BUILD AN ICE/ROLLER SKATING RINK.

beatrice 12 years, 2 months ago

crazyks: First off, I think it is great that you love KS. However, you write about city life in such detail, even though you have never lived in one. Perhaps you shouldn't make your judgments on city life until you give it a try yourself. City life isn't as it appears on tv. I live in a city, and love it. I don't have bars on my windows, have great neighbors, and friends not too far away. Yes, there is smog and traffic, but then many in Lawrence find that in their daily commute to work. Yes, in my city there are murders, but then again I remember reading about someone getting gunned down on Mass street not too long ago. Per capita, I'm not sure we are really that far off from Lawrence. As far as family farms -- they will continue to be taken over by the big corporate farms that get the big tax subsidies. The food will still be grown. Soylent Green is fiction, and we are several years away from actually feeding on each other here in the city.

Finally, I could just ask you -- why is it that the people with nothing to do are the ones that always say that happiness comes from within? (I'm kidding of course.)

The point is -- don't judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Then, if you still want to judge them you will be a mile away and they will be barefoot.

enochville 12 years, 2 months ago

Populations become older because: 1) They are not having as many viable children, 2) They are living longer, and 3) The young move away in disproportionately larger numbers than the old (or the old are moving in).

I think, like all of Europe, Kansans are not having as many children as they used to, and due to medical advances we are living longer. Now, the emigration situation, which many posters have argued is the main explanation, I don't know about. I'd have to see some data on that. I know that the young are living the rural areas for the cities, but I don't know to what extent they are leaving the state.

enochville 12 years, 2 months ago

Oops, my last sentence should have said "the young are leaving the rural areas".

Jclarkson 12 years, 2 months ago

Always the roundabouts. I don't think it takes a Rhodes Scholar to see that opportunities for MANY jobs are not found in Kansas. Hence why so many people get the flock out of here as soon as they can.

Plus as a society, we've been coming into an age where travel is so much easier than it was 30-50 years ago. Why not leave Kansas and see the world?

loboda 12 years, 2 months ago

to blue73harley? I would not advise you to move to the southern states, especially Florida or the gulf states. In case you have not been paying attention, hurricanes are getting a lot worse. Many insurance companies in Florida are getting out of the business of insuring homes. There was an article in the Daytona Beach Journal stating some insurance companies are not issuing new home owner policies because of the high cost of claims from the past hurricanes. I for one am moving back to Kansas. I see nothing good in the forecast for living here in Florida. It is not any less expensive to live in Florida than it is back in Kansas. Building is 10 times faster than back in Kansas and unless you want to live in a mobile home park, housing certainly is not cheap down here. Yes there are tornadoes back in Kansas, but the season only lasts a couple months. Hurricane season lasts for six months and if you read you will know they are coming a lot more and a lot stronger. Florida and the south are in a cycle of bigger and stronger hurricanes and this cycle may last for several more decades. And they are making the cost of living go up for everyone. Florida was hit by four hurricanes last season and clean up is still going on in some areas. Move here if you want but I would be considering Arizona or Texas before Florida.

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 2 months ago

What is there to keep people here? You have religious zealots trying to force their beliefs down the throats of the population, low wages, if you can even find a job in some places, Phred. Why should people stay here much less even relocate here. I used to be happy here, but in the last couple of years even I want to leave. After 8 years here, my step dad calls Kansas the armpit of the universe (Okla is the @$$#%!# according to him) I can't even get my parents to come and visit me. Just as well, it's far more interesting where they live and I love going to visit. I, too, will likely leave this place.

canyon_wren 12 years, 2 months ago

I don't Liberty was talking about places like Leavenworth County when she mentioned lower taxes, etc.--that's too close to Kansas City, etc. You have to 1) get away from the Interstate and 2) not live within good driving distance to a major university to enjoy the benefits of lower taxes, etc.

The more jobs available in an area, the more movement into it (duh!) and the higher the cost of infrastructure, etc. There are so many logical tradeoffs that a person has to make a choice as to what he/she finds most appealing. The "advantages" that university communities offer in the way of "enrichment" for your children, etc. are offset, in my opinion, by the frantic pace at which people live and the neurotic children that result from parents' desires to provide EVERYTHING in the world for them in the way of experiences. Just my opinion, as I said, and not many of the young people out there will agree with that.

I certainly agree with TOB's comment that it is foolish to waste X number of years waiting for children to grow up so you can go somewhere else. If Kansas is as bad as all that, why would you want to let them spend their childhood here?

Just Liberty's comment about being allowed to shoot fireworks is a good reason for living in Kansas!

trinity 12 years, 2 months ago

oh for god's sweet sake...all of ya's that are b!tchin' about kansas, i hope you get your wish&get the heck out, asap.

i'm a native; and YES i've seen plenty of the world, YES i know that kansas has it's share of idiocy and problems (show me a place that doesn't!!!), but i tell you what; i'm choosing to bloom where i'm planted, and i'm damn happy i'm planted in kansas. i LOVE my state! truly honestly do, warts&all. y'all make it sound like utopia lies ANYWHERE beyond state lines!!! well guess what...wherever you go, THERE YOU ARE. i don't doubt for a minute that once you gripers get settled wherever you're going, you'll find something to b!itch about.

wah wah wah, i don't like kansas so i'm gonna gripe. stop your gripin' and start packin'! in my opinion, there's really no place like kansas. the flint hills just make me humble&i appreciate their beauty; the hilly parts of east/southeast kansas always take my breath away on a beautiful spring morning; seeing a field of sunflowers in the morning, their little heads facing the sun-then turned the opposite direction at evening time just amazes me with it's simple beauty; out west, the land...awesome; the heritages, the traditions. good lord, what some people miss when all they seem to be able to do is find fault.

yep...i love kansas.

canyon_wren 12 years, 2 months ago

Trinity, I am with you on this subject! I say let folks leave if they don't like it in Kansas. I get homesick for Kansas every day, even though I live surrounded by spectacular scenery.

I recently read the book "Bird, Kansas" by an Englishman, Tony Parker, who lived in a small Kansas town for a while in order to find out what the quintessential small Midwestern town was really like. The book is a collection of interviews with the residents of this town, which I thought at first to be Hill City, but must be somewhere south of Hays--he's taken some liberties with the geography to disguise the actual town. I really recommend it to anyone who wants to know what Kansans are truly like (outside of Lawrence). Some of their comments (many very positive about the state) make it plain why the population is aging. As it has been pointed out, Kansas is not alone in this--all the Plains states, and the Midwest in general, are experiencing the same thing, so you can't blame it on either Kansas' PR or the fancied narrow-mindedness.

It's a natural thing for young people to leave for more excitement and/or better jobs. And also natural for older people to find contentment in routine. I lived in over 40 houses growing up and moved 30 times in a 31-year marriage, and can say, now that I have been in my present home for 13 years (a new record!) that "Familiarity breeds CONTENT," not always contempt. Maybe a lot of those older people have found the secret to contentment lies at home after all.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Man, omb, that sucks. Some people gotta focus on the negative, I guess.

Here we have weekly human interest stories on the evacuees, it seems, covering which ones are staying and how they're adjusting, and the Vietnamese fisherman who said two kids gave him some money and he couldn't thank them at the time because he didn't speak any English, and how the kids are doing in school, and who still needs a sofa, and so forth.

Overall, I think Austin's evacuee experience was the most positive of any in Texas. Of course, we also got fewer than you did, and I think we had a little extra prep time, which made all the difference since they were still setting up the cots and temporary showers when people started rolling off the planes. If they'd shown up 6 hours earlier, there would have been no place to put them yet, no tetanus shots and infirmary, no blankets and stuff ready. The last few hours were critical.

We also have hundreds of local musicians, ready to throw down with the music as fast as you can say 'benefit concert'. That first couple of weeks, there was a benefit concert or event every single night, some with 50 to 100 dollar a head price tags that still sold out. And there was all the news footage of people just showing up at the Convention Center to say, "Hey, I'm here and I'd like to play a little jam session for the folks," and of course the concerts in the park with balloons and ice cream for the kids.

I think it's because Austin is a party town, so their response was to Help By Partying, which is consistently more fun than most other forms of volunteering, so our volunteers stayed longer and came back more often.

Linda Endicott 12 years, 2 months ago

Perhaps the population of Kansas is getting older simply because the baby boomers are getting older, and there are so many of us? I don't know that this is something that is unique to Kansas.I'd have to look at some stats first.

I have lived in Kansas all my life, and I will continue to live here until I die. It's home. There may not be as much to do around here, but intelligent people can find the fun things in life anywhere. You don't have to be in a big city. What most of you seem to be talking about are going places where you have to spend money in order to be entertained. I don't think some of you would find yourself entertained no matter where you lived, if you're that picky.

What do big cities give you? Smog, higher murder rates, higher taxes, higher cost of living, higher housing prices...if you think things are bad around here, look at what a studio apartment in N.Y. will cost you. I've read about people who have bars on their windows, the crime in their neighborhoods is so bad. Is that the way you want to live, just in order to make more money? Will more money make you happier? If you think it will, I don't think you've got your priorities straight.

So, all the young people move to the cities, and out of Kansas, and so the farms all go fallow and no one is raising food anymore. If the trend gets worse, and all the young are living in the cities, and no one is farming, what the hell do the kids in the city think they're going to eat? Where do they think those loaves of bread come from? Or the big, juicy steak they like to eat? Or the salt they use to flavor that food? Employees of supermarkets don't go through it every morning harvesting what grew during the night. If all the young people move to the cities and all the farms die, I can tell you what they'll end up eating...each other.

I love it here, and I will never leave.

To those who aren't satisfied with Kansas, by all means go somewhere else. Small towns here are pretty much the same as small towns in California, or Florida, or Kentucky, or New York. Everyone can't live in the cities. There isn't enough room. If you want to leave, go. We won't miss you.

But I can assure you that if you can't find happiness here, you won't find it anywhere else either. Happiness comes from within. Not from where you live. Somebody told me once that life is what happens while you're waiting for excitement. He was pretty much right.

Oh, and Loboda...did you know that Florida is the lightning strike capitol of the world? There's more lightning there than anywhere else.

badger 12 years, 2 months ago

Trinity -

Yes, Kansas is beautiful, but I can't live on sunflower seeds and Flint Hill vistas.

I left for a variety of reasons, but the biggest of them was that I met someone who lived here in Austin, and after a year of long-distance we decided that we wanted to live in the same state. I evaluated job prospects in my field in Texas, and my SO did the same for the Lawrence-KC metro area.

What we determined is that if I moved, my salary would nearly double but my cost of living only go up about 20-30% (it ended up being nearer 15%, actually). If my SO had moved, it would have meant taking a 10-20% pay cut for a similar job, with a minimal (less than 10%) decrease in the cost of living.

There's little opportunity in Kansas. Farming is dead or dying, and Kansas has no other opportunity to keep it going and draw people in. It can barely employ the ones who are here - and a lot of the ones employed in Western Kansas packing meat aren't going to show up on the census to bring down the median age.

The Universities bring in fewer out-of-state students than other Midwestern states do. The University of Iowa-Ames has arguably the best veterinary school in the nation. The University of Missouri-Columbia is recognized as having one of the best journalism schools in the country. OU is renowned for its meteorological studies department, apparently. Illinois has Northwestern University. What do KU and K-State have to bring in out-of-staters who might stay here after graduation?

The 'small town death' profile is a populace growing older as the young take opportunities in the city and move away. As the population ages, there's an increased demand on social services and a decrease in tax revenue, because less money is being earned. Schools get worse because communities where most of the people's children have already moved away are less likely to fund tax increases to improve or upgrade the schools, and the state has to pick up the slack. With poor schools and few opportunities, there's even less to draw in new families, so the money goes somewhere else.

This is happening, large-scale, across Kansas. It has nothing to do with Kansas' flatness, wind, beauty, or flora. There's nothing here to draw people who need to make a living, and everything here to encourage them to make that living in another state.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.