KSU Data Report On County

With the help of the KSU annexation the population of Manhattan increased by 10,000 between 1990 and 2000. As Manhattan grew from 36,000 to 46,000 Riley County was in a 6.4% decline.

A new Situation & Trends Data by KSU Research & Extension shows that decline as well as the population for all 105 counties in Kansas. (See page one.)

Here is part of what the report had to say on:


Population may be the single most important indicator of a county’s overall situation. The size of the local population, its age distribution, and changes over time greatly affect economic and social conditions in a county.

Population growth implies that an area is an attractive place to live and work and is often associated with business growth, a larger tax base, and greater economic well-being. While population growth is generally viewed favorably, rapid population growth can cause problems of its own. Examples include: increased demands on local government, housing shortages, sprawl, and school overcrowding.

Population decline creates a nearly opposite set of problems. Among the most significant is reduced demand for the goods and services provided by local businesses, which may force them to close. Others include: reduced government revenue to provide public services, a depressed housing market, and school closings.

Between 1990 and 2000, the Kansas population increased 8.5% from 2.5 million to nearly 2.7 million. This continues the fairly steady upward trend in population the state has experienced since 1900 (Figure 1). The U.S. population grew 13.2% between 1990 and 2000 to 281.4 million.

Over the same period, Riley County’s population declined 6.4%, from 67,139 to 62,843 (Figure 1). The average Kansas county experienced growth of 0.6% from 1990 to 2000 and had a population of 25,604 in 2000. Of 105 counties, 48 experienced population growth over the decade and 57 experienced decline.

Population growth was strongest in counties surrounding the large metropolitan areas of Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City and in southwest Kansas (Figure 2). This suggests that population growth is closely related to changes in the level of local economic activity. The population growth in southwest Kansas, for example, may be largely associated with continued growth in the area’s food production and processing industry. Similarly, metropolitan counties and their neighbors have traditionally experienced more rapid economic growth than other areas of the state, which may help to explain their more rapid population growth.

Persons per square mile is an indicator of population density and urbanization. As persons per square mile increases, infrastructure and public service demands increase, and the economic and social environment can change dramatically.

In 2000, Riley County had 103.1 persons per square mile. This compares to a population density of 46.2 for the average Kansas county, and 32.9 for Kansas.