Counter to national trends, KC sees balanced urban and suburban growth

Jul 24, 2019
| Posted in
Group sitting outside in downtown Overland Park, Kan.

But in the Kansas City region, we are bucking this trend with balanced growth throughout the metro, from downtown to the farthest suburbs.

If downtown — defined as the area from the Missouri River south to 31st street and from the state line east to U.S. 71 — was a city on its own, it would be one of the fastest growing cities in the metro. Between 2010 and 2017, the population in this area grew from 14,839 to 17,929, a 21% growth rate. This is comparable to, and in fact faster than, the growth rates in some growing small and mid-sized suburbs throughout the metro.

Growth Rate 2010-2017

In addition to growing, downtown’s population is growing younger. In 2010, 28% of people living downtown were between the ages of 25 and 34. By 2017, this share grew to 35%.

Clearly, growth in downtown Kansas City has not yet run its course. It has been — and remains — one of the most actively developed areas of the metro.

But it’s not a zero-sum game, where downtown grows at the expense of suburbs or vice versa, as one might infer from the WSJ article. Our downtown growth is significant, but it represents just a portion of our overall growth. We’re also seeing significant growth in the suburbs, as the examples in the table above show.

This balanced growth pattern indicates the Kansas City region has something to offer people in all stages of life. Individuals and families have plenty of options to choose from in both urban and suburban neighborhoods. And when both are growing, our region is growing stronger.