The U.S. Census Bureau shows that Kansas’s population increased by 2 percent from 2010-12015, but that isn’t the case for most of the Golden Belt.
Federal figures released Thursday estimate the state population on July 1, 2015, was 2.911,641, an increase of 9,134 from a year earlier. In 2010, the state had 2,853,132 residents.
Barton County went from 27,674 in 2010 to 27,103 – a 2.1 percent dip.
Ellsworth County went from 6,497 to 6,343 – a 2.4 percent loss.
Pawnee County’s population dropped 1.9 percent, from 6,973 to 6,916.
Rice County’s dropped 1.1 percent, from 10,083 to 9,977.
Stafford County lost 4.5 percent of its 2010 population, going from 4,437 to 4,236.
Rush County lost 5.4 percent – going from 3,307 to 3,130.
The only county adjacent to Barton that grew was Russell County; its population increased by 1 percent, moving from 6,970 to 7,039.
This is not a new trend. In 2011, census figures showed 77 of the state’s 105 counties had declined in population over the previous decade.
As the rural communities lose people, they begin to lose services. Grocery stores, retail stores, post offices and even schools are at risk.
Our representatives in the Kansas Legislature need to focus on things that affect all Kansans, including providing excellent education, maintaining our infrastructure, insuring that affordable health care is available, and keeping farms and ranches viable.
Instead, as the Kansas City Star reported Thursday, “Student Physical Privacy Act” bills introduced in the Kansas House and Senate would require transgender students in public schools to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their sex at birth. Public schools and universities would be required to designate multiperson restrooms, locker rooms and shower rooms for one gender only. Gender is defined as being “determined by a person’s chromosomes and is identified at birth by a person’s anatomy.”
Similar bills have passed or are being considered in other states. Is this really an issue?
Perhaps these and other bills coming from wherever such bills come should be set aside until the Legislature has a come up with a budget and looked at more important matters.