rural population

Kansas is on its way to becoming a majority-minority state, with white residents expected to make up less than half of the population by 2066.

A new report from the Kansas Health Institute shows that the state is quickly becoming older, more urban and more diverse.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

In places where the unemployment rate is well below the national average—states like Nebraska, Colorado and Iowa—one would think it’d be easier for communities to recruit new residents to fill open jobs.

But the housing market works against rural towns and cities where jobs often stay open because there are too few affordable homes and apartments to buy or rent, or the ones that are affordable need lots of TLC. It’s a situation that threatens to turn low unemployment from an advantage into a liability.

The population of Kansas grew slightly in the last year, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The state’s population increased to 2,913,123, thanks to an additional 5,392 residents. That equals a 0.4 percent jump between July 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017.

Kansas remained the 35th-largest state in the country.

The Census Bureau said eight states lost population during that time period. Illinois lost the most residents, 33,703, while Wyoming had the largest percentage decline at 1 percent.

Idaho had the fastest rate of growth at 2.2 percent.

COURTESY OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

For the first time in its annual survey of rural America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that mortality rates of working-age adults are on the rise because of opioid and heroin overdoses.

Continuing longtime trends, rural areas are still seeing declining populations, the rebound from the Great Recession is slow and poverty remains a persistent problem, according to the USDA’s “Rural America at a Glance,” released Thursday.