The good news for Kansas is that the state gained in population, by about 3%, according to the most recent census data. This means the state will maintain its current representation in Congress, with no loss in political clout on the federal level.
But overall, 80 of the state’s 105 counties lost population, 16 of them by more than 10%. However, there have been population gains concentrated in the greater Kansas City region and a few other metropolitan areas, with five of the ten fastest growing counties in and around the KC area.
These are significant shifts by any measure, with a profound impact on the redistricting process and ultimately, on our individual votes at the ballot box. Currently the state’s largest district is Kansas Senate District 40 in western Kansas which, at nearly 13,000 square miles, is 650 times larger than the smallest — Senate District 25 in Wichita.
With population decreasing in rural areas and increasing in urban areas, look for these rural districts to grow even more.
Redistricting matters — it is the major driver that will determine who will represent us in Congress, in Topeka, and even on the local level, for the next decade. The manner in which district lines are drawn puts voters together in groups, and in our system of democracy, whichever group has the most votes within that district will decide who will represent that district as a whole.
Census data shows Kansas is becoming more diverse, with a population shift to urban and suburban counties. This should be reflected in the redistricting process. Kansas Voting Data will continue to monitor and report on new developments as the Kansas Legislature draws new maps.