Yael T. Abouhalkah

Kansas City metropolitan area thumps St. Louis in new population growth

St. Louis and Kansas City met on the baseball diamond last Thursday, with the Cardinals beating the Royals, 4-3. But Kansas City and its metropolitan area beat St. Louis when it comes to the important decision of where people want to live these days.
St. Louis and Kansas City met on the baseball diamond last Thursday, with the Cardinals beating the Royals, 4-3. But Kansas City and its metropolitan area beat St. Louis when it comes to the important decision of where people want to live these days. TNS

New population data from the U.S. Census Bureau show the two largest metropolitan regions in Missouri growing at far different paces.

Good news, Kansas City boosters: We trump the St. Louis area when it comes to being an attractive place to live.

The primary contributor to this positive development is the continued growth of Kansas City’s suburbs vs. what’s happening in the St. Louis region, where suburban population gains have been lame.

According to new estimates of population from the 2010 census through July 1, 2014:

▪ The Kansas City region added 61,795 people, for a 3.1 percent growth rate.

The total number of people living in Kansas City, Overland Park, Olathe, Independence, Lee’s Summit and several dozen other area cities was estimated at 2,071,133.

That made the region the 29th largest in the United States. That’s up from 30th in 2010, after passing the Cleveland area.

▪ The St. Louis region added only 18,460 people, for a puny .7 percent gain over 2010.

Overall, the St. Louis area still has more residents than the Kansas City area, with 2,806,207.

But St. Louis dropped to the nation’s 19th largest region after being passed by the Tampa-St. Petersburg region.

It’s notable that growth within the boundaries of the city of Kansas City also helped this region gain residents faster than the St. Louis metro.

The city of Kansas City added 11,013 people in the four-year period, the Census Bureau reported.

The city of St. Louis, however, lost 1,946 residents.

The census estimates don’t deliver all good news for the Kansas City metropolitan region, though.

That 3.1 percent growth rate was below the 3.9 percent rate achieved by the average metropolitan area across America.

In fact, the 3.1 percent mark was only the 33rd best in the nation, behind many of the region’s peers, such as Oklahoma City, Indianapolis and Minneapolis.

Still, it’s always good to come out ahead of St. Louis on an important measuring stick.

To reach editorial page columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.

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