Archive for Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tonganoxie population increases 86 percent since 2000

March 9, 2011

Reflecting on why she and her husband, Jesse, moved to Tonganoxie shortly after they were married seven years ago, Katie Johnson says it was a combination of affordability and convenience.

“His job required he live in the county,” she said. “We were looking for a place to rent. It was the nicest place we could afford.”

The couple now has a 3-year-old daughter, Alexis, and a son, Austin, in kindergarten at Tonganoxie Elementary School. The couple has moved from the rental they lived in as newlyweds to their own home. With ties in southern Leavenworth County, they have found a home in Tonganoxie.

“It’s a nice town,” Katie said. “It’s just a nice community.”

Official 2010 census figures show the city of Tonganoxie added 2,268 residents in the past decade as people like the Johnsons chose to make the city their home. The figures also indicate the city grew significantly faster than the U.S. Census Bureau estimated in its annual updates.

The U.S. Census Bureau released numbers last week of the populations of local jurisdictions in Kansas. The population numbers gathered from last spring and summer’s census indicate the city’s population is 4,996. That is 86 percent more that the city’s population in the 2000 census of 2,728.

It is also 514 more people than the 4,416 residents in the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest estimate released in June 2010. That estimate was of the city’s population on July 1, 2009.

“They were hiding somewhere,” Tonganoxie City Administrator Mike Yanez joked about the discrepancy between the estimate and official census figures. “It surprised the heck out of me. The census is a good thing. Door-to-door gives you a lot more information than a guess.”

A good quality of life, including good schools, parks and swimming pool, excellent highway access to jobs in Lawrence and the Kansas City metro area contributed to the population boom, Yanez said. But he said Tonganoxie had the added attraction of offering many good services locally.

The city administrator identified two more factors that Katie Johnson also noted: Affordable housing and an appealing small-town community atmosphere.

Mayor Jason Ward said the census presented city government a challenge.

“It tells us to be proactive,” he said. “We need to stay of on infrastructure and facilities and continue to provide the services our citizens expect.”

The Johnsons represent Tonganoxie’s new residents in other ways. They and other new residents helped make the city’s population younger than that of the state or county. The median age in Tonganoxie was estimated to be 29.7 years, well younger than the estimated 36.8 years in the county and 35.9 in the state.

The census also indicates Tonganoxie population is homogeneous with 95.8 percent or residents identifying themselves as white and 1.2 percent as African Americans, figures unchanged since the 2000 census. Another 2.9 percent identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Leavenworth County remained the sixth most populous in Kansas, according to two state figures the U.S. Census Bureau released Friday. The counties population grew from 68,691 residents in 2000 to 76,227 in 2010, a growth rate of 11 percent.

Forty-two of the state’s 105 counties added population in the last decade. As expected. many of those were in the cluster near the Kansas City metropolitan area or Wichita. The census confirmed Johnson County now is the most populous county with 544,179 residents, up 93,093 or 20.6 percent since 2000. Wyandotte County was the only Kansas side metro county to loss population, if barely. Its 2010 population is 157,505 or 377 fewer than 2000.

Despite being overtaken by Johnson County, Sedgwick County grew by 10 percent with 498,000 residents.

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