Editorials

Celebrate strong population gain in Kansas City, Kan.

In 2013, Cerner officials opened the first building at their office campus in Kansas City, Kan.
In 2013, Cerner officials opened the first building at their office campus in Kansas City, Kan. Kansas City Star

The latest U.S. Census Bureau population estimates are cause for celebration by Mayor Mark Holland and other boosters of Kansas City, Kan.

Since the last census in 2010, the city had gained an estimated 3,850 people through July 1, 2014. That’s a growth rate of 2.6 percent — which is far better than the city has experienced in recent decades. In fact, the population of Kansas City, Kan., had consistently declined from a high of 168,200 in 1970 to only 145,800 in 2010.

Now the city is moving back toward 150,000 people, in great part because of residential growth in its western parts. The development of Village West has drawn millions of visitors, but the addition of Cerner Corp. office buildings at the site has been one key to spurring housing construction.

Kansas City also got some positive news in the Census Bureau estimates, which showed the city had added 11,013 residents to reach 470,800 as of July 1, 2014. That’s a growth rate of 2.4 percent.

As usual, the cities most quickly adding people were in Johnson County; Overland Park was up 6.5 percent and Olathe up 5.7 percent. In Missouri, Independence gained an anemic 0.6 percent in population and Lee’s Summit was up 2.7 percent.

To keep its success story going, Kansas City, Kan., should focus on improving public services to help attract even more residents.

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