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Study projects continued drop in population

Published:Wednesday | May 30, 2012 | 12:00 AM

WICHITA, Kansas (AP):

A decades-long decline in population is likely to continue in Kansas, particularly in the west of the state, and four counties could have fewer than 1,000 residents by 2040, according to a study by Wichita State University's Centre for Economic Development and Business Research.

Census figures have detailed the decline for years, most recently showing that 77 of Kansas' 105 counties lost population in the last decade. The population of 41 Kansas counties peaked in 1910 or earlier, and 28 counties haven't recorded a population increase from one census to the next since 1940, not even during the post-World War II baby boom, The Hutchinson News reported (

The centre made two separate projections based on different factors. One projection considered birth and death rates and assumed that migration patterns recorded in each county from 2000 to 2010 would continue. The second approach did not factor in migration patterns and considered what would happen as the current population ages.

Historic migration patterns are important, but they might not be the best predictor of the future, said Jeremy Hill, director of the centre.