Figures released Thursday show Kansas City’s estimated population surged to 481,420 as of July 1, 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
It’s encouraging to report that annual population growth in Kansas City has gone up every year since 2010. The city added more than 6,550 people between July 2015 and 2016.
Overall, Kansas City’s population is up almost 22,000 over the 2010 Census of 459,787. That’s a 4.7 percent gain.
Much of that is coming in the Northland in Clay and Platte counties, as well as in downtown, as I wrote in April when new county population figures were released.
Kansas City was the 37th largest city in the nation as of last July, just behind Mesa, Ariz., at 484,587 and ahead of Atlanta’s 472,522.
(And sorry, St. Louis residents. The second largest city in Missouri fell to a population of 311, 404 in mid-2016, a drop of almost 8,000 since 2010.)
Kansas City’s population growth since 2010 of 21,633 residents was 62nd best in the nation.
And that brings us to the less positive side of Thursday’s news.
Even Kansas City’s relatively healthy growth did not keep up with population gains in several cities chasing it on the list.
This chart of Census figures shows July 2016 population figures in the first column and the additional growth they enjoyed since the 2010 Census.
For instance, Milwaukee had the weakest growth with only 214 extra people in six years; Raleigh, N.C., has had the strongest growth.
Essentially, Kansas City isn’t adding residents quickly enough to catch any city closely ahead of it. That’s all right with some people, by the way, who don’t necessarily want to see tons more housing and rental units, which could lead to a higher cost of living. Ask Seattle, for instance.
Here is how the five other largest cities in the Kansas City area stacked up as of July 2016:
Overland Park, 188,966 (up 9 percent since the 2010 Census)
Kansas City, Kan., 151,709 (up 4.1 percent)
Olathe, 135,473 (up 7.6 percent)
Independence, 117,030 (up 0.2 percent)
Lee’s Summit, 96,076 (up 5 percent)
Kansas City’s highest Census population was 507,087 in 1970. It plummeted to 435,146 in 1990, but has been on the upswing since then.
That’s generally a good thing to see, as more people can equal more taxpayers to help foot the bill for more improvements in Kansas City.