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The Census Bureau says Lawrence is losing population. Why do you think that is?

Response Percent Votes
Earlier rapid growth made the city too expensive to live
64% 386
City Hall hasn’t been friendly enough to business
22% 136
The Census Bureau is wrong
5% 34
Lawrence hit its natural size limit
5% 33
1% 8
Total 597


Luxor 10 years, 9 months ago

My KU cost of living raise won't come near to covering the increase in my mortgage payment due to tax increases. I've lived here for 17 and I'm done, I'm leaving.

KLATTU 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm sure there are many reasons. One is that parents concerned about their childrens' education don't want to live in a backwards state like Kansas. It's easy to snicker about nutty creationists when you live in most of the rest of the country. When it has the potential to affect your own kids' future and schooling it gets a lot more serious. I know at least a half dozen families that packed up and left because of the shenanigans that were going on with religious radicals and the Kansas board of education.

jayshops 10 years, 9 months ago

Earlier growth is usually led by incoming population from other places. But for those who came in to stay, diverse and affordable places to shop is essential. Think about this. Our family should go to Kansas City everyweek just to go to Sam's club or Costco. We are seriously thinking about moving to Overland Park nowadays to reduce costs associated with driving around.

John Spencer 10 years, 9 months ago

I know lots of people that have and are moving out of:Lawrence. It is too expensive to live here, and no where near enough good paying positions to go around. I am very lucky to have a tech job in Lawrence that pays well. More reoundabouts to block the view of all the hideously bad roads should help.

Berserk 10 years, 9 months ago

Has the city council ever checked out the grossly overinflated bulging belt completely retarded home prices in what is now a market in shambles? I wonder why you can't sell your homes people? I am renting here, but when I go to buy a house, I am moving somewhere that might actually see an increase in home values over the next 10 years, the homes here will be drowning in negative equity in less than 10.

common_cents 10 years, 9 months ago

People are moving, plain and simple. We will probably be moving soon as well (I know many of you will be happy about that)

The place we are looking has house prices about 75% of what they are here and a 40% increase in salary for both of us. If and when we do move, I will wish everyone in this town good luck and hope for the best, but unless something is done about the way the city is run, it won't get any better.... they'll just keep taking and taking.

ramsrevenge 10 years, 9 months ago

Transients/Homeless. That's the reason.

redneckwoman 10 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence is to expensive to live in. Living wage is too low. City Hall is not business friendly. Schools suck.

Oracle_of_Rhode 10 years, 9 months ago

b3 says: "Lawrence sucks, its to expensive, to many hippies, to many rednecks, to many roundabouts, and to many people from the looney left. There is just nothing going for it. It is a dying." -- Just the ignorant wrath of another conservatard Lawrence hater. Please go away you caveman piece of garbage. Or, if you don't live in Lawrence, stop posting at OUR civic forum. This newspaper concerns citizens who live here and care about Lawrence. It's not for Quantrills and mental midgets.

gccs14r 10 years, 9 months ago

Sales and property taxes were already too high and now with fuel going up, too, anyone who commutes to KC should be looking seriously at moving closer to work.

storm 10 years, 9 months ago

Not family friendly, either, especially in a expensive town where parents commute. Parks and Rec summer activities end before 5PM whereas other towns go the entire day. On school days, there is late arrival and early dismissal on the SAME day, and early dismissal on EVERY Wednesday. Of all the expensive housing developments, Hutton Gulch is an eyesore.

Steve Mechels 10 years, 9 months ago

Death (oops, never mind) and TAXES!!! I have only been here for two years and I am thinking about moving out. Always thought Lawrence was a great town but after living here I am not so sure...

kef104 10 years, 9 months ago


Your comments are a dis-service to republicans. I agree that taxes are too high, but to criticize our local schools makes no sense.

Lawrence produces at least double, perphaps triple, the national merit semi-finalist and scholars that a community this size should. A national ranking service out of New York (I forget which one) consistently places the Lawrence High school system in the top 4 in the country. We have a nationally recognized chess team from a grade school, our schools' musical and vocal students are among the best in the state, our ACT and SAT scores are always significantly higher than both state and national scores, Additionally, familys move here for the exceptional special needs programs, we have an excellent ESL program, and we hire far better professional educators than most school systems. People want to teach here despite making less money than other school districts. Remember, most High School systems cannot provide the expertise for their graduates to enter major universities having enough credits to be Sophomores.

If your opinion is based on some personal experience, I am sorry you had such a bad experience as to taint your view. If your opinion is simply a way to trash a community, it is a sorry and mean attempt worthy only of Ditto heads and Coulter.

Whatever your personal agenda may be, slamming the local educational system only makes you appear foolish, uninformed, and perhaps uneducated.

Godot 10 years, 9 months ago

Taxes are too high. Just looked at my AT&T bill today and saw the message that the municipality of Lawrence has imposed a 5% surcharge on my phone bill that AT&T must collect. Got my water bill. Water was only $13; sewer was $31! The sewer bill is nothing more than a tax. The school district is out of control raising the mill levy; how can the school district need more money when the number of students is decreasing? The county is going to raise the mill levy, the city is going to either raise the mill levy or increase the sales tax. The appetite of local government for devouring my hard earned money knows no bounds. This is what happens when you have a city where government is the largest employer.

KU_cynic 10 years, 9 months ago

I am a very well paid KU professor but our family is single income. We live in a $225,000 house which is about all that I want to try to afford given my conservative attitude toward saving for retirement and future college expense for my children. I am amazed at all the housing stock in this town at values near or substantially above our house's value. I really don't think there are that many jobs in Lawrence that pay more than I make, so I don't understand who lives and works in Lawrence that can afford all these homes, especially the >$300,000 properties. I really don't see how we can attract elementary and secondary school teachers -- let alone police, firefighters, nurses, -- when so much of the housing stock seems to be too pricey for them.

It's just not surprising to me that growth has slowed. The influx of families with children has flattened out or even turned negative (look at USD 497 enrollments), KU is not growing nor are other major employers, on net, and the cost of living here for people who can live anywhere and make their way in the world in middle-income jobs(elsewhere in Kansas or in Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, etc.) seems awfully high.

I love Lawrence, and I plan to be here for quite a while, but it's delusional to think that population, the economy, housing values, and the taxable base can expand as much in the next 15 years as they have in the past 15 years.

Anyone who thinks we can afford a new library, ice rink, etc. needs to be kept far away from public office.

DaveR 10 years, 9 months ago

I once sat a class in demographics in Montpellier, France. It was taught by an Hungarian who had escaped the uprising in 1956. Aside from the fascinating ways that France breaks down along clear-cut demographic lines, was this:

There is a size of city where demand for services outstrips the ability of the population to pay for them. As an example, the professor gave Montpellier itself, which at the time was something like 200,000. It is that "awkward" stage of city growth. Lawrence is technically under that threshold, but if you factor the university kids, then I would guess it to be well into it.

Surely there is a professor of demographics in the area. The LJW might give him a forum & have him explain the facts of life of a growing city.

Lawrence is especially hurt by lack of good jobs, and always has been. Combine that with the certain awkward age & you might have an unhappy situation.

So why the forlorn hope of an economic savior, the factory or industry that will bring 500 good paying jobs? In the entire country, such saviors are rare & so far as Lawrence is concerned, the fact of the University will forever prohibit them from arriving. In other words, the best you can hope for is more minimum wage.

A better solution is to develop self-employment schemes, on a city-wide basis. In other words, an office in city hall devoted to promoting honest schemes & advising those attempting them. Mom & pops.

One example is internet-driven mail order. In so many ways, the internet is still wide-open to start ups. I myself have run such a business since 1996. I don't make gobs of money, but I own my very own mortgage & live reasonably well.

Another, which has hardly been tapped at all, is inexpensive print-on-demand republishing of public domain books. Even with the inflated & restrictive copyright laws of the last two decades, there are still literally millions of titles that may legally be reprinted. Lawrence, with its above average educational levels & outstanding university libraries, would be an ideal place for such an industry to take root.

Both of these schemes bring new money into the city. Encouraging citizens to take these up will increase the standard of living for everyone.

DaveR 10 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence claiming there are no jobs is just so silly.

I sell books, by mail order, in the teeth of Amazon. A moment ago a customer in London emailed:

Dear David, Thanks for your email. I must once again applaud your swift service and I look forward to receiving the order.

Which he will have in four days. Half my business is international.

In New York in 2000, while looking for an apartment, I had the bright idea of hitting up our parents (mine & hers) for a down payment on a mortgage. Mine claimed they were poor. Hers came up with $20,000. We bought, in Jackson Heights, at $110,000. Two years later we sold at $150,000, moved to Maryland & bought at $171,000. Four years later we sold at $250,000 & bought at $359,000, putting down $140,000. That bubble has now burst, but we can't be the only folks to have profited.

So now we're looking to move to Lawrence. Back to Lawrence, in my case, as I went to school here long, long ago. There seems to be a lot of good property at $250,000, which we can well afford. We may mortgage as low as $100,000, and, if so, I might consider a 15 year mortgage.

Back in 2000, I started reprinting books related to my store's specialty (never mind what). At the moment I publish some 24 titles, all print-on-demand. I do the scanning, OCR'ing, page setup, cover design & final PDF mastering all in-house, all on my aging P3. For new title setup, including proof, my printer, in Tennessee (that's a hint) charges about $150. Cost per copy is about $4.00. They retail for $20.00. When I sell them directly, I net $16 per copy. When I sell them through Amazon, I net $4.00. I confess I'm better at mail order than I am at wholesale distribution. Wholesale does not yet cover my $1600 monthly mortgage, but it's getting close.

When I get to Lawrence next year, I'm going to do two things: Publish books related to Lawrence & peddle them to every Barnes & Noble in the area, and take my existing publishing on the road, to all the trade shows in a one-day drive.

I left Lawrence long ago because I could not find a job & my degrees did not help. My family & I are returning to Lawrence because I think it's still one of the most outstanding towns in the country, and because I think it's full of opportunity. That, and opera in English.

Emily Hadley 10 years, 9 months ago

I have always been able to afford to live well here on a sub-poverty level income. That has never been an issue for myself or anyone I have ever known in Lawrence.

However, the more new development I see in Lawrence, the uglier the city becomes overall. Fifteen years ago West Lawrence was a pretty drive spotted with houses. Ten years ago it was nothing but bulldozers and curb cuts, yet, I think that may have been more aesthetically pleasing then than the completed neighborhoods are now. At least ten years ago I still thought it had the potential to become neighborhoods of well-placed, well-built homes with trees, parks, and some contribution to the personality and value of the whole community.

I would rather be poor than live in a soulless city of dead-end streets and chain stores. There is no 'living comfortably' in miserable surroundings.

topekan7 10 years, 9 months ago

Reasons why my friends (including myself) have left Lawrence for Topeka: Cheaper housing - great neighborhoods Better jobs Greater variety of shopping, art community Better hospitals - access to medical care Gay community (churches, businesses) has a greater presence in the overall community in Topeka

Lawage05 10 years, 9 months ago

Can someone explain to me how it is the fault of developers and realtors for driving up the cost of housing in Lawrence? As far as I know, realtors market property for the home seller and list the price THAT THE SELLER CHOOSES. How many FSBO's out there do you really think knock that commission amount off their sale price to keep their house more affordable? None. They pocket that percentage and fool the unrepresented buyer into thinking they got a great deal because they didn't use an agent. The next time you make an offer on a FSBO, offer them 6% less and see how offended they would be.

Developers purchase land from farmers or other possible land-owners and do try to divide that land to make it most affordable for building houses. What purpose would a realtor or developer have to overprice the houses? If they're overpriced, they won't sell. If they don't sell, guess who doesn't make any money? HMMM. Has the general public realized that it takes multiple sub-contractors and building supplies to build a house? If every single sub involved in the building process raises their costs to the builder (concrete is way up, and copper! HELLO), is the builder expected to just eat crow and take it? No, they have to make a living just like the rest of us. So where else can it go but to pass that expense onto the new homeowner by raising the price of the house. Many builders in this community would LOVE to be able to build a quality home for first-time buyers under 200K. But it is very difficult with land costs, supply costs, and sub costs rising each and every year.

The population is suffering because there is no upper-level job growth in this community. End of story.

absolutelyridiculous 10 years, 8 months ago

Surprise City Leaders! I guess you aren't hearing what they want to hear. Wow. Problems in La-La land?

My family and I are discussing leaving too. When I can buy a comparable home in Topeka for $50,000 less, something is terribly wrong. When you add in the rising cost of healthcare and energy on top of the housing, Lawrence will have to be populated by rich, white, retired people.

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