Population gains make county more important

05/27/2014 5:22 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

Johnson County is surging in population, thanks to its longtime amenities. Excellent schools plus solid parks and library systems have been attracting new residents for decades.

That trend continued between 2012 and 2013, according to U.S. Census Bureau numbers released last week.

Johnson County had seven of the biggest gainers in terms of added people among the 20 largest cities in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Even more impressively when looking at that list, the county had the second through seventh fastest growing communities in percentage of added residents.

Johnson County is adding the kinds of well-educated people who start new businesses, a prime need for the state of Kansas. Because the county remains the largest in the state, Kansas’ economic future will rest more and more on how well Johnson County navigates the changing financial times.

Overall, census numbers showed Kansas City gained the most total people, or 2,708, from 2012 to 2013. Grandview had the highest percentage gain of residents, at 2.87 percent.

But after that, Johnson County pretty much ruled the rankings, especially in the growth rates of its cities.

2. Lenexa, up 1.94 percent, or 957 people.

3. Olathe, up 1.44 percent, or 1,874 people.

4. Leawood, up 1.36 percent, or 443 people.

5. Overland Park, up 1.31 percent, or 2,346 people.

6. Shawnee, up 1.11 percent, or 704 people.

7. Gardner, up 1.02 percent, or 206 people.

As the county grows even larger in coming years, elected officials must use new tax resources to maintain high quality services for residents — the services that likely got many of them to live in the county in the first place.

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