Results just announced for the 2010 Census show that the Kansas City metropolitan area grew 10.8 percent from 2010, from 1,836,000 to 2,035,000 persons. As in all of the major metropolitan areas (over 1,000,000 population) for which data has been reported, the bulk of the growth was in the suburbs, rather than in the historical core municipality (Kansas City).
The suburbs captured 91 percent of the metropolitan area growth, with a growth rate of 13.0 percent. Nearly one-half of the metropolitan area growth was in Johnson County, Kansas. The Kansas City metropolitan area is unusual among bi-state metropolitan areas, because the population is relatively evenly split between Missouri (location of the historical core municipality) and Kansas, with 58 percent in Missouri and 42 percent in Kansas.
The historical core municipality of Kansas City gained 4.1 percent, from 442,000 to 460,000. Based upon the 2009 Census estimates, this population was approximately 24,000 lower than expected. The 2010 population remains below the 1970 peak of 507,000 and is only marginally above the 1950 figure (457,000). However, in 1950, the density of the city was substantially higher, contained in a land area of 81 square miles. Kansas City now covers nearly four times as much land area, at 314 square miles. A large portion of Kansas City is actually rural and thus outside the urban area (See 2000 urban area map). This open land provides the city of Kansas City with greenfield land for new suburban development. The suburban development within Kansas City, however, has been substantially less than in other suburban areas of the metropolitan area.
Kansas City, Kansas, which was also developed around a pre-World War II core, had a population decline from 147,000 to 146,000.
The continuing dispersion of the Kansas City metropolitan area is indicated by the employment trends from 2001 to 2010 (June). Employment was down 22,000 in the metropolitan area. However, employment was down 42,000 in Jackson County, which includes the urban core of the region (the non-suburban portion of Kansas City). All employment growth has been in the suburbs (20,000).