Regional Movement: Inside the Numbers

At the inception of Ingram’s Magazine in 1974, Downtown Kansas City was the epicenter of business in the bi-state area. Over the decades, the narrative has shifted.

The entire metropolitan area has grown in just about every sense, but the intense development of southern Johnson County on the Kansas side ushered in a new business destination. Rather than Downtown serving as a single central business district, Johnson County became a second sun that the community now also orbits around.

That is perhaps best illustrated by the highways during rush hour (I-35 north and south are equally packed with commuters attempting to reach the other side of the city for work, as does I-435 east/west on the southern loop), the other changes and movement in the KCmetro area during the past 45 years are best illustrated through Census statistics.

It’s no surprise that the metro population has doubled, but despite there being more people living here, there are actually fewer people per each household.

And though census data proves that as a community, Kansas City is overall more educated now than in 1970 and the number of jobs has kept with population growth, many in the region are not necessarily better off. In 1970, just 60.1 percent of people in Kansas City graduated from high school. Today, 91.5 percent of people earn that high school diploma. However, after 1970, household incomes are adjusted for inflation, the picture becomes clear; many in this region, on average, have fallen if you adjust household incomes for inflation.

Further, women are working more now than ever. In 1970, just 17 percent of women worked. Today, 63 percent are in the civilian labor force.

The accompanying statistics offer a clear picture of how Kansas City has changed in the past 45 years.