Kansas Population Metro Report
The report presents findings on population growth in Kansas over a fifty-year period from 2021 to 2071. The research conducted by the Center for Economic Development and Business Research, with funding from the Patterson Family Foundation, forecasted population growth for different regions in Kansas by race, ethnic group, age, and gender. The projections utilized comprehensive data on statewide and regional population, birth, mortality, and migration rates for various demographic groups.
According to the forecasts, the total population of Kansas is projected to grow by over 468,000 residents, signifying an increase of nearly 16% compared to the 2021 population. The expected growth rate is 0.3% annually until 2071, representing a modest decline from the higher growth rate experienced between 1960 and 2010 (0.54%).
The forecasts suggest faster growth in the 2050s and 2060s compared to the 2030s and 2040s. Although the overall growth rate is slower than historical trends, it shows an acceleration compared to the slow growth experienced since 2010. Notably, the growth trends differ among different groups within the state, influenced by factors such as age, urban or rural location, and race or ethnicity.
In general, metropolitan areas in the state are projected to grow faster than rural areas, and older age groups are expected to experience more rapid growth in terms of percentage increase compared to younger age groups. The 19 metropolitan counties, accounting for about 67.6% of Kansas' total population in 2015, are projected to continue growing and are estimated to comprise 76.0% of the population by 2071. On the other hand, the 18 micropolitan counties are expected to remain relatively stable in population size, while the total rural population is forecast to decline by 19.1% by 2071.
Over the 50-year span, the structure of the Kansas population is expected to shift toward an even more pronounced metropolitan majority compared to micropolitan and rural populations. Declines in rural populations alongside often stagnant or volatile growth in micropolitan counties and accelerating urban minority populations drives the increasingly polarized growth picture.
Among the metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in Kansas, the Kansas City, KS, MSA stands out as the most populous, with over 900,000 residents in 2021. It is also projected to experience the second-highest growth among all metro areas, with an addition of almost 313,000 new residents by 2071. The Lawrence and Manhattan MSAs are also forecast to grow rapidly, expanding their populations by 45.9% and 25.9%, respectively, by 2071. The Wichita MSA, while still growing, is expected to do so at a slower pace, with an estimated population of almost 793,000 residents by 2071.
Some areas, including Atchison, Coffeyville, Great Bend, Liberal, McPherson, Ottawa, Parsons, St. Joseph, Topeka, Winfield, and the aggregated population of non-metro/micropolitan areas, are projected to experience declines in population through 2071.
Kansas is set to undergo significant changes in its population distribution over the next five decades. Understanding these trends will be crucial for policymakers and businesses to plan and address these demographic shifts' unique challenges and opportunities.
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