The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 29, 2012

Study suggests continued population drop in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. — A decades-long decline in population is likely to continue in Kansas, particularly in the west of the state, and four counties could have fewer than 1,000 residents by 2040, according to a study by Wichita State University’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research.

Census figures have detailed the decline for years, most recently showing that 77 of Kansas’ 105 counties lost population in the last decade. The population of 41 Kansas counties peaked in 1910 or earlier and 28 counties haven’t recorded a population increase from one census to the next since 1940, not even during the post-World War II baby boom, The Hutchinson News reported ( ).

The center made two separate projections based on different factors. One projection considered birth and death rates and assumed that migration patterns recorded in each county from 2000 to 2010 would continue. The second approach did not factor in migration patterns and considered what would happen as the current population ages.

Historic migration patterns are important but they might not be the best predictor of the future, said Jeremy Hill, director of the center.

“In some of these communities, we’re getting down to a very small population,” Hill said. “People who want to move probably already have left. People who are there are there for one reason or another. They’re attached to the land or they’re there for work and they’ve probably already gone through the agricultural productivity (gains that reduced farm employment). They’re not likely to decline any further.”

Without migration, Wichita State projected that 37 counties — 22 in the western Kansas — would lose population. The main reason for the decline is a relatively low concentration of women of child-bearing age, Hill said.

With migration, the study projected that 83 counties, including 51 of the 54 from Reno County west to the Colorado border, would continue to lose population through 2040. In the western half of the state, only Ford, Ellis and Hamilton counties could be expected to grow.

By either method, Greeley County, which had 1,235 people in the 2010 Census, will be Kansas’ smallest county in 2040. Assuming no migration, Greeley’s population would drop nearly 10 percent to 1,113, according to the study. If migration patterns continue, it would drop nearly 64 percent, to 447 people, and be one of four Kansas counties — along with Wallace, Kiowa and Lane — with fewer than 1,000 people in 2040.

“I don’t necessarily believe that every community will go that low,” Hill said. “At some point we might be at that inflection point where it’s already at the bare minimum of people willing to move out.”

Hill said he believes some communities, even those in rural areas, could grow if U.S. manufacturing rebounds as the costs of doing business in China increase. That would prompt more manufacturing jobs to return to the Midwest because of the relatively low labor costs and the skill set of the work force, he said.

“If we look in Kansas, where?” he said. “Really it’s not going to be Wichita central city, although Wichita will continue to grow. I think there is skill-set value there. However, I think communities around major metros and some other central hubs across the state — Hutch, Hays, Great Bend, Dodge and Pittsburg are great examples — are where manufacturing will likely re-emerge.”


Text Only
Local News
  • Pseudoephedrine sales in Pittsburg to require prescription

    Starting Friday, those who purchase pseudoephedrine and related products in Pittsburg will need a prescription to do so.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cherokee County Commission accepts general counsel's resignation

    Kevin Cure, who has served as general counsel for the Cherokee County Commission since 2005, submitted a handwritten resignation to the board on Monday in the aftermath of a landfill controversy.

    July 22, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Parents can get help with school supplies

    I don’t know much about demographics other than the fact that I no longer belong to a “targeted demographic.” When I was younger, I was bombarded by commercials and ads from companies that were trying to sell me things that I not only needed but wanted.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jasper County Commission reviews traffic plans

    The Jasper County Commission will hold public hearings today and Thursday on a number of traffic changes proposed in the county. No one spoke when the first hearing was held Tuesday as part of the regular commission meeting, according to Jim Honey, Eastern District associate commissioner.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin school board reviews audit procedures

    A team from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has begun requesting documents in its task to audit the operations and management of the Joplin School District, the audit manager told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin man to stand trial in accident case

    A passenger accused of causing an accident on Interstate 44 in Joplin that injured three others as well as himself was ordered bound over for trial Tuesday on three felony counts.

    July 22, 2014

  • r072214soroptimist3.jpg Volunteers spend week providing camp experience to foster youths

    Karen McGlamery is a massage therapist. Terri Falis-Cochran is a finance manager. Jane McCaulley is a retired art teacher. But for a week each summer, the three are among dozens of area residents who become camp counselors.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho school board hires company to manage substitutes

    Citing its hopes of shifting health care costs and utilizing more time from retired teachers, the Neosho Board of Education granted a contract Monday to a temporary employee company to manage its substitute teacher program.

    July 22, 2014

  • Main Street TIF district study to begin

    A measure that allows the city to charge its $15,000 in administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.

    July 21, 2014

  • Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.

    July 21, 2014

Must Read


A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined. Do you think those kinds of measures should be taken?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter