Local officials weigh in on census figures
Local reactions to the completed 2020 U.S. Census have varied as some parts of Jackson County — and the county as a whole — have seen population declines in the past 10 years while others have seen modest increases.
“We’re glad to see that we have grown a little bit,” Holton City Manager Kerwin McKee said regarding the city’s growth of 72 residents, from 3,329 in the 2010 census to 3,401 in the 2020 census.
Holton Mayor Robert Dieckmann agreed, noting that the 72-resident increase “wasn’t a lot, but it helps.”
The county’s population dipped by 230 residents, from 13,462 in the 2010 census to 13,232 in the 2020 census. Jackson County Commissioner Dan Brenner said he didn’t believe that number to be “an alarming figure,” pointing to good things the county has to offer.
“We have good schools and good teachers in place, which attract families,” Brenner said. “I think the county population will come back… I think a lot of young adults move away to bigger communities like Kansas City and then move back later because they realize it’s a lot safer to raise their kids here, plus they have a lot of family ties here.”
Others, such as Delia mayor Don Trimble, questioned the results of the decennial census.
“My first thought when I saw it was, as much trouble as they had with the census, I wonder how accurate it is,” Trimble said. “I’m going to do an informal recount of my own around Delia and see how accurate it was.”
Delia was one of six Jackson County communities that saw its population declining from 2010, when the southwestern Jackson County community had a population of 169, to 2020, when the census counted 151 — a 10.7-percent decrease.
Jobs and housing were viewed by local officials as key to improving population counts. Concerning the latter, McKee noted that during the last 10 years, the city has seen about 20 new duplexes, two fourplexes and several single family homes constructed, in addition to several second-story spaces around Holton’s Town Square being converted into residential space.
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