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KC’s Population Growth Suggests Strong Economy

March 24, 2017

The most recent population estimates show that the Kansas City MSA is picking up the pace population-wise.

The 14-county metro population now stands at 2,104,509. This is an increase of 90,774 since 2010. To give you some scale for that growth, we’ve essentially added the population of another Lee’s Summit over the past six years.

MSA Pop Growth 2016 Estimates
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Kansas City’s growth has been fairly consistent. We saw annual growth of about 15,000 a year between 2013 and 2015, but that growth jumped to over 20,000 between 2015 and 2016. Again for scale, that was like adding a city the size of Raymore in one year.

What’s more encouraging is the makeup of this population growth. Population growth comes from two sources, natural growth and migration. Natural growth is a simple formula, births minus deaths. In the Kansas City metro we have seen natural growth holding steady at about 10,000 to 12,000 a year. Migration growth has two components, international and domestic. International migration into the Kansas City region has also been consistent in recent years (between 3,000 and 4,200 a year). Domestic migration has been more variable. Net domestic migration was very small in recent years, but it spiked in 2016 to 6,693.

2016 Estimates Components of Change
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

 

Domestic migration is important to look at because it can be indicative of a healthy economy. If people perceive more economic opportunities in a region, they are more likely to migrate there. A look at some of our peer metros shows that a positive net domestic migration is no guarantee. Metros like Austin, Nashville and Denver saw net domestic migration top 20,000 last year, while some metros like Cleveland and St. Louis saw declines.

2016 Domestic Migration
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

All told, there may not be a better economic indicator than population growth, particularly domestic migration. Yes, more people moving in means we need more housing, shops, roads, etc. but more importantly, seeing significant domestic migration means that more people are choosing to move to Kansas City from elsewhere in the country. This strongly suggests that they are finding good economic opportunities here. As we mentioned, migration figures can fluctuate greatly from year to year, but the most recent data shows a Kansas City population, and economy, on the rise.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 19, 2017 5:00 am

    I was just looking at some stats and saw that KC has a constant population growth of about 2% per year. The average hourly rate in KC is at $20.65 so it would be nice to see an economic growth to compliment the population growth.
    Love the article btw, you really got some accurate stats here and ran the numbers just right.

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