The State of Kansas dodged a bullet in the 2010 census, and will not lose any House seats in reapportionment. Kansas population increased by 6.1 percent over the last 10 years. Neighboring Missouri will lose one representative despite having a 7 percent population increase. House seats are apportioned according to the number of people per representative.
Cherokee County, however, saw a population drop, as did most counties in the state. In 2000 the county population was 22,605 and in 2010 it had dropped to 21,603 — a loss of 1,002.
Columbus had only a 2.46 percent drop over the last 10 years. In 2000 the Columbus population was 3,396 and in 2010 it was 3,312 a net loss of 84 people.
Baxter Springs saw the largest numerical drop in the county with a loss of 364 residents — a nearly 8 percent loss. Percentage-wise West Mineral was hit hardest with a 25.7 percent loss, but in actual numbers the loss was merely 64 people. Galena was also hard hit with a population loss of 202 or about 6 percent.
Columbus Chamber of Commerce Director Jean Pritchett said the total county loss was “not bad at all.”
“Especially considering the number of relocation packets I‘ve sent out (to people considering moving to the county) over the last year,” she said, adding she had no way to tell how many had actually moved here but that many were excited about the area.
Baxter Springs Chamber of Commerce President Charlene Hunley said the population drop in Baxter may not be quite what it seems.
“You‘ve had a lot of farm ground opened up for development,” she said. “You‘ve got a lot of new additions that have sprung up out side of town.”
Hunley also noted 2000 was around the time when Yellow Freight closed its terminal in Baxter and many of the families who had worked there had to relocate.
She also noted Baxter Springs High School has increased enrollment to the point it has gone from a 3A school to 4A.
“I think overall Baxter is doing well,” she said. “I think our revenue in town is up and we have new businesses opening.”
Cherokee County Treasurer Juanita Hodgson said the census will not affect county tax revenues much. According to Hodgson, property taxes are figured by tract not by population so property tax revenue will not be much affected. She added sales tax revenue has remained more or less stable.