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 (http://bit.ly/KLlI3k ).

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.”

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • r072814dogbike.jpg Cross-country trip promotes animal adoption

    Where’s Bixby? Not the town in Oklahoma, but the dog on the back of a bicycle ridden by Mike Minnick. On Monday, the two were in Joplin, one stop on a cross-country bike trip to promote the adoption of dogs and cats from local shelters.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4.3 magnitude quake reported in northern Oklahoma

    The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.3 struck northern Oklahoma on Monday night.

    July 29, 2014

  • Update: 4 workers injured in SE Kansas oil refinery fire

    A Texas company says four workers at a southeast Kansas oil refinery were burned in an early morning fire.

    July 29, 2014

  • Seneca man draws concurrent term in sexual abuse case

    A 39-year-old man who sexually abused a girl over a four-year period in both Joplin and Seneca received a 15-year sentence Monday in Newton County that will run concurrently with a term he received earlier this year in Jasper County.

    July 28, 2014

  • Judge lifts seal on records in Parsons quadruple slaying

    A judge has rescinded his order sealing court records in the case of David Bennett Jr., who is accused of killing a Parsons woman and her three children.

    July 28, 2014

  • Defendant who pulled knife on ER doctor sent for treatment

    A man accused of pulling a knife on a Freeman Hospital West emergency room doctor pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Monday and was sentenced to the state prison system’s Institutional Treatment Center.

    July 28, 2014

  • Wal-Mart to build second local Neighborhood Market

    A second Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market store is planned for Joplin. The company has filed an application with the city to rezone nearly six acres of land on the west side of town in the tornado zone to build a new Neighborhood Market and gas station.

    July 28, 2014

  • r072814mailcar.jpg VIDEO: Train mail car trailered on Joplin's Main Street to Redings Mill

    With a police escort leading the way Monday, postal car No. 34 breezed through downtown Joplin en route to its new home in Redings Mill, where it was greeted by a welcome party of local residents and railroad enthusiasts.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Anti-landfill group seeks grand jury probe

    As more than 200 people filed into Riverton High School on Sunday to attend an anti-landfill group meeting, many stopped to sign a petition asking the Cherokee County District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate how land was acquired by the city of Galena for a proposed landfill.

    July 27, 2014

  • 072814_jd anderson.jpg VIDEO: Noel strongman advances on talent show

    The past week has been busier than normal for Noel resident J.D. Anderson. Members of the production crew for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” told him they have shot more footage of him than of other contestants for the next episode. “They said I have the busiest schedule of anyone this week,” Anderson told the Globe in a phone interview Friday. “There’s so many fun things you can do with B-roll as a strongman.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that electronic devices and communications are protected from searches and seizure without a warrant, do you think Missouri needs Amendment 9 added to its constitution?

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