Missouri, Kansas populations hold steady

Posted at 10:39 p.m. on Monday, this is an expanded version of an article posted at 7:39 a.m. Monday:

KANSAS CITY (AP) — While the Midwest as a whole has been losing population to southern and western states, Missouri and Kansas appear to bucking the trend, with more people moving to the two states than are moving out, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Census shows that about 25,000 more people moved into Kansas and Missouri than moved away from 2008 to 2009. The Midwest lost 62,000 people during that same period. Missouri had a net gain of about 11,000 from other states in 2009 from 2008. Kansas gained about 13,600 people.

“They’re not states that are going to grow rapidly in large numbers, and they’re not going to decline rapidly in large numbers,” according to William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution.

The data also show that more people are moving to Kansas and Missouri at a time when people don’t seem as mobile as they were 60 years ago.

Nationwide, 3.5 percent of the population moved to a different county between 2009 and 2010, the lowest percentage since 1947-48, when the Census started tracking how people move. In 1950-51, about 7.5 percent moved to a different county.

Experts blamed the slowdown on the mortgage crisis, high unemployment and young adults who want to move but can’t afford to buy a new home.

“I think there’s a pent-up demand for migration among these young folks,” Frey said.

In Missouri, migration patterns differ by region, said Bill Elder, director of the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis at the University of Missouri.

The areas of the state north of the Missouri River behave more like the rest of the Midwest in that they’re losing population, he said. Areas south of the Missouri River reflect more of the growth patterns seen along the Gulf Coast extending up into Arkansas, he said.

Missouri saw big population gains in Camden County near the Lake of the Ozarks as well as in Taney County, home of Branson and very near Table Rock Lake. Taney’s population exploded by 30 percent in the last 10 years, while Camden’s soared by 19 percent.


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