Kansas City is a 15-county metropolitan area that's anchored by Kansas City, Missouri. To make things confusing, however, the metro area also includes Kansas City, Kansas, which is much smaller in size. This article will cover Kansas City, Missouri and the metropolitan area as a whole. The city is located on the border of Kansas and Missouri, and it's the second largest metro area in the state after Greater St. Louis.
The most densely populated area is within the Historic Kansas City boundary with about 58 square miles and a density of around 5,000 people per square mile. The urban core of the city has dropped in population continually for the past 13 years, while only a few areas -- especially the Greater Downtown area in the city center -- have gained population. The most significant growth has been in the Northland area.
Kansas City Metropolitan Area
The Kansas City metropolitan area (or just KC) has a population of 2.34 million people. MC has an area of 7,952 square miles, which means its density is 260 people per square mile (100/square kilometers).
Located on the border of Kansas and Missouri, KC spreads over 15 counties in both states. Kansas City, Missouri is the anchor city with a population of 488,600, but cities with at least 50,000 inhabitants include:
- Overland Park, Kansas: 179,000
- Kansas City, Kansas: 147,000
- Olathe, Kansas: 130,000
- Independence, Missouri: 117,000
- Lee's Summit, Missouri: 93,000
- Shawnee, Kansas: 64,000
- Blue Springs, Missouri: 53,000
- Lenexa, Kansas: 50,000
Johnson County, Kansas (JoCo) makes up the southwestern area of the metro and includes Overland, Lenexa, Olathe, and Shawnee. Wyandotte County, Kansas (The Dotte) is on the western side, and it contains Kansas City, Kansas. Leavenworth County, Kansas is just outside the Kansas City area, but it is included in the 15-county metropolitan area. Kansas City, Missouri is in the center of the metro area.
The Kansas City metropolitan area also includes many suburbs and cities, the largest of which are Overland Park, Kansas; Kansas City, Kansas; and Independence, Missouri, all of which have over 100,000 people each.
Kansas City Diversity
Kansas City is home to the second largest Sudanese population in the United States. Its Hispanic and Latino community, mostly from Central America and Mexico, is spread throughout the metropolitan area with the highest concentration southwest of downtown and in the northeast region of Kansas City. The Asian population, meanwhile, is mostly from Southeast Asia and is heavily concentrated around the Columbus Park area of Greater Downtown.
Kansas City is also home to a large Irish-American community of about 250,000. This community has many bookstores, Browne's Irish Market and numerous newspapers. This large population means that 1 in 2 people in Kansas City has Irish ancestry.
Kansas City Population Growth
Kansas City has already outgrown Missouri's previously largest city, St. Louis. St. Louis has been slowly fading, losing 538,000 people from 1950 (when it was the 8th largest city) to 2010 (when it was the 58th largest). Still, St. Louis does have the largest metropolitan area in the state, but this will probably change in the future.
Kansas City has put much emphasis on encouraging entrepreneurs in the area, and it's been increasing its funding of the arts and boosting spending on road repairs and park maintenance. Kansas City now makes up 23% of the KC metropolitan area's population, and the region's growth rate was at a very healthy 11% from 2000 to 2010.
It's hard to say what Kansas City will look like in the coming decades, but its growth is healthy, and it is growing twice as fast as nearby St. Louis.