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Visitors make their way to the Oliver Brown Elementary south entrance to tour the school on Aug. 7. The Manhattan-Ogden school district decision to build a school in Pottawatomie County is an example of how the county is the fastest growing county in Kansas, according to the U.S. Census data.

Pottawatomie County is No. 1.

Pottawatomie County experienced the largest population growth by percentage in Kansas from 2010 to 2020, according to Census data.

The U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday released data on its 2020 population count.

Pottawatomie County’s population grew 17.3% from 21,604 to 25,348. It was one of two Kansas counties that recorded a double-digit percentage growth; Johnson County grew by 12.1% from 544,179 in 2010 to 609,863 people in 2020.

Manhattan is in both Riley and Pottawatomie counties. Pottawatomie’s growth is evident in the areas immediately east of the Riley County portion of Manhattan.

The US-24 corridor from Manhattan through Wamego contains 13,964 or 64.6% of Pottawatomie County’s population, according to the Census Bureau.

The growth east of Manhattan recently led the Manhattan-Ogden school district to build Oliver Brown Elementary on the edge of the district’s boundary in Pottawatomie County. The school at 4787 Jackie’s Way, on the southwest corner of Junietta Avenue and Moody Road, will receive its first students next week.

In Riley County, the population grew by 1.2% from 71,115 in 2010 to 71,959 in 2020.

Geary County’s population grew 6.9% from 34,362 to 36,739.

Wabaunsee County’s population declined 2.5% from 7,053 to 6,877.

Wabaunsee County’s story is the same as the majority of Kansas counties. Eighty of the state’s 105 counties declined in population since 2010, including 16 by more than 10%.

The declines are mostly in rural counties as the counties in more urban parts of the state such as the Kansas City area, Wichita and Lawrence experienced growth. Many counties in the west part of the state also experienced growth.

Overall, Kansas has a population of nearly 2.94 million people. It only grew by 3% over the past decade, which is tied with 1900 for the lowest percentage growth in the state’s Census history. (In 1940, Kansas recorded a percentage decline of 4.3%, the only time that has occurred.)

In terms of total population in Kansas, Riley County is No. 7, Geary County is No. 13, Pottawatomie County is No. 24 and Wabaunsee County is No. 53.

Changes in race

In the four-county area from 2010 to 2020, the white population represents less of the area while the multiracial population has increased.

In Riley County, white people represent 75.8% of the population, down from 83.25% in 2010.

The mulitracial population (8.4%) overtook the Black population (7%) as the second-largest group in the county while also jumping on the Asian population (4.7%)

In 2010, Black people represented 6.37%, Asian people represented 4.21% and multiracial people represented 3.53%.

In Geary County, the white population has fallen under 60% of the county’s population, going from 66.17% in 2010 to 59.5% in 2020.

Multiracial people had the largest share increase, jumping from 6.93% to 13.2%. Black people are the second-largest population in Geary County at 17.2%, although its share declined from 18.39% in 2010.

Pottawatomie County is one of only three counties in Kansas that had an increase in the total white population. The county had the state’s largest white population growth at 11.9%.

In Pottawatomie County, the total white population increased by 2,406 people, but the percentage that the white population represents in the county decreased by 4.36%.

Mulitiracial people had the largest share increase in Pottawatomie County, increasing from 2.56% in 2010 to 7% in 2020. It remains the second-largest group in the county.

In Wabaunsee County, the population share for white people went down from 96.53% to 91.7%.

Once again, the mulitracial population had the largest share jump from 2.08% to 6.2%. The population is the second-largest in the county.

The area counties’ shifts match the overall changes in the United States.

While the white population remains the largest group in the U.S. with 204.3 million people, it decreased by 8.6% since 2010.

The multiracial population increased by 276%, leaping from 9 million in 2010 to 33.8 million in 2020. Multiracial people are now the third-largest group at 10.2% after representing 2.9% of the population in 2010.

People of Hispanic of Latino origin

In the four county area, people identifying as Hispanic or Latino increased for everyone.

In Riley County, the population of Hispanic residents increased from 4,610 (6.5%) to 7,470 (10.4%).

In Pottawatomie County, the population went up from 957 (4.4%) to 1,429 (5.6%).

In Geary County, the Latino population increased from 4,252 (12.4%) to 5,776 (15.7%)

In Wabaunsee County, the population increased from 205 (2.9%) to 317 (4.6%).

This is the same story for Kansas and the United States.

In Kansas, the Hispanic population increased from 300,042 (10.5%) to 382,603 (13%); for the country, the population increased from about 50.47 million (16.3%) to around 62.08 million (18.7%).

Geary County race demographics

Race 2020 2010 Change
White 21,857 22,738 -881
Black 6,303 6,319 -16
Two or More Races 4,864 2,380 2,484
Some Other Race 1,682 1,221 461
Asian 1,250 1,101 149
Pacific Islander 458 264 194
American Indian 325 339 -14

Riley County race demographics

Race 2020 2010 Change
White 54,567 59,203 -4,636
Multiracial 6,027 2,509 3,518
Black 5,011 4,530 481
Asian 3,367 2,996 371
Some other race 2,322 1,300 1,022
American Indian 440 433 7
Pacific Islander 225 144 81

Wabaunsee County race demographics

Race 2020 2010 Change
White 6,303 6,808 -505
Two or More Races 428 147 281
Some Other Race 53 23 30
American Indian 40 36 4
Black 31 29 2
Asian 18 10 8
Pacific Islander 4 0 4

Pottawatomie County race demographics

Race 2020 2010 Change
White 22,618 20,212 2,406
Multiracial 1,773 554 1,219
Some Other Race 294 287 7
Black 286 227 59
Asian 200 144 56
American Indian 150 168 -18
Pacific Islander 27 12 15