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County shrinks, but Marion area grows

Staff writer

Marion County’s population declined 6.6%, compared to a statewide increase of 3.0%, according to new every-10-years census data released last week.

Only one of four tracts in the county — the east-central one, including Marion — showed increased population, rising 0.2% to 2,799.

The tract also includes the unincorporated communities of Aulne, Eastshore, and Marion County Park and Lake, all of which have Marion mailing addresses.

Other tracts in the county recorded sharp population declines.

A tract covering the county’s northern two tiers of townships, including the cities of Durham, Lincolnville, Lost Springs, Ramona, and Tampa, declined 6.1% to 1,514.

The county’s west-central tract, covering Hillsboro, Lehigh, and surrounding areas, declined 5.6% to 3,808.

The county’s final and largest tract, covering its southern tier of townships, including the cities of Burns, Florence, Goessel, and Peabody, declined 8.1% to 3,702.

Final totals for incorporated cities have not yet been released. Only estimates are available for populations within city limits.

While the county’s population decreased from 12,660 to 11,823 between 2010 and 2020, its diversity — though not extensive — increased.

White non-Hispanics and non-Latinos now account for 88.5% of the population, down from 93.7% a decade ago.

Census data indicate the county now has 442 Hispanics or Latinos (up 49.3%), 122 African Americans (up 17.3%), 54 American Indians (down 22.9%), 46 Asian or Pacific Islanders (up 35.3%, and 619 who identify themselves as being multiracial or of some other race or ethnicity (up 131.9%).

The county also is getting older. Population younger than 18 declined at a faster pace — by 9.8%.

Among the county’s 2,586 residents younger than 18, several categories of diversity decreased.

African Americans were down 19.4% to 25, and American Indians were down 16.7% to 15. On the other hand, Hispanics and Latinos were up 133.9% to 442, and those listing themselves as multiracial or of other racial groups increased 84.6% to 251.

The census found 4.6% fewer housing units in the county than it did 10 years ago. Of the housing units, 4,786 were occupied, and 885 were vacant — roughly the same occupancy rate as 10 years earlier.

Of the county’s 11,823 residents, 217 were reported to be nominally living in nursing homes, 376 in student housing, and 11 in other group quarters.

Census figures such as these are the basis on which congressional, legislative, and other election districts are redrawn every 10 years and strongly influence such things as the availability of state and federal grants and aid programs.

Most surrounding counties also lost population. Harvey was down 1.9%, Saline was down 2.3%, Dickinson was down 6.8%, Chase was down 7.8%, and Morris was down 9.1%.

Only Butler (up 2.3%) and McPherson (up 3.6%) grew. Sedgwick, in comparison, grew by 5.1%.

The state’s fastest growing counties were Johnson in the Kansas City suburbs (up 12.1%) and Pottawatomie, including Wamego, Westmoreland, and area northeast of Manhattan (up 17.3%).

Although not official or final, here are estimated population figures as of the census day in 2020 along with the percentage change from the 2010 census.

Cities 2020 Change

Burns 205 –10.1%

Durham 107 –4.5%

Florence 427 –8.2%

Goessel 490 –9.1%

Hillsboro 2,769 –7.5%

Lehigh 168 –4.0%

Lincolnville 191 –5.9%

Lost Springs 66 –5.7%

Marion 1,745 –9.4%

Peabody 1,082 –10.6%

Ramona 174 –7.0%

Tampa 99 –11.6%

Last modified Aug. 18, 2021

 

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