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Census estimate shows KC dropping from 26th to 29th largest US metro area

Soon to be closed McCoy Elementary School in KC - a sign of the times?
Soon to be closed McCoy Elementary School in KC - a sign of the times?
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

Kansas City used to be called “one of the few livable cities left.” However, the Census Bureau, in its last exercise before the real count beginning April 1, has released figures about the Kansas City metro area that are both good and bad.

On the downside, the metro area suffers another demeaning blow by dipping 3 points in size. The Kansas City area hit its high water mark in 1950 when it ranked 18th overall in largest metropolitan areas. Since then it has been in a slow and steady decline, as have many other large metro areas.

Now for the good news. Kansas City’s population itself grew some 12.6 percent in the last decade, which actually beats the national average. KC is also growing faster than St. Louis and some other Midwest cities. But it is also losing ground to a number of Sunbelt metro areas.

While there is good and bad in the Census projections, an ugly factor also exists. Like many areas, the recession is beginning to take its toll and wreak havoc. City budgets have tightened and it seems like everyone and everything is scaling back.

Still licking its wounds from the KC School District cuts, closings and layoffs, the Kansas City Star reported another setback for the city: the closing of the 102-year-old Folger’s coffee plant downtown. Another 180 jobs will leave the area, adding to the area’s woes.