Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell’s State of the City video doesn’t seem to be based on reality.
Not long into the address, the mayor says, “… we must embrace the challenges we face and forge ahead into the bright future that is just around the corner.”
On that bright future: Since the mayor spoke, learned that the Wichita metropolitan area lost population during the year ending July 1, 2018. 1 So at the time of the address, Longwell didn’t know the area had lost population, but he should have known that the trend of population growth has been slowing, as can be seen in the nearby chart.
What about the population of Wichita city proper, as that is the jurisdiction the mayor was elected to represent? (It’s better to look at the MSA, for a number of reasons. 2 For one, several major “Wichita” employers are not located within the Wichita city limits. Major portions of Spirit Aerosystems, for example, lie outside the city, and the city certainly takes credit for job creation there.)
City populations are available through July 1, 2017. 3 From 2011 to 2017, the top 100 cities averaged annual growth of 1.03 percent. For the City of Wichita, the average was 0.29 percent, barely more than one-fourth the rate. (Wichita was the 50th largest city in 2017.) The trendline of growth for Wichita is down, as it is for the top 100 cities in general.
We have to ask: With a population growing much slower than the nation — and declining in the most recent year — what is the future of Wichita?
More importantly: Is Mayor Longwell aware of these statistics, and if so, why does he not recognize them? I hope this isn’t what he means by “embrace the challenges.”
- Weeks, Bob. Wichita population falls; outmigration continues. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/wichita-government/wichita-population-falls-outmigration-continues/. ↩
- Weeks, Bob. Wichita metropolitan area population in context. Available at https://wichitaliberty.org/wichita-government/wichita-metropolitan-area-population-in-context/. ↩
- Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places of 50,000 or More, Ranked by July 1, 2017 Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2017 U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. Release Date: May 2018 ↩