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GTP finding census shows economic growth but decreasing population in Capital City

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 5:19 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Greater Topeka Partnership leaders said the decade’s census status for Shawnee County shows improvements to pay and poverty rate, but a slight decrease in population.

It shows the county’s population went down 1.1%. The median salary per household went from just more than $38,700 dollars up to $49,700 from 2010 to 2019, which was the latest year of data they had for that.

Private worker pay increased around $50,000 as well.

The poverty rate decreased by almost 44%.

The overall economy improved by almost $1,000,000,000

GTP’s Senior Economic Advisor Freddy Mawyin said while presenting the statistics to the group, “There’s still a lot more work that needs to get done, and for that, I’ll let the smarter guys and gals in the room talk, but once again, I’m somewhat optimistic about how we’re doing in the county.”

Senior VP of Economic Development/President of GO-Topeka Molly Howey said the county saw more economic development projects in the last 5 years than the previous 10 -- validating their work.

“Our existing businesses are a vital part of our economy and they’re just continuing to choose Topeka over and over,” she said. “They have choices for where they can grow those jobs throughout their network -- nationally, internationally -- and they continue to choose Topeka.”

President and CEO Matt Pivarnik said the community’s response and recommendations are a factor in what they choose to do, but the housing market is a major reason people are leaving. He said they are developing a strategy to address that.

“I really feel that we’re fortunate to have maintained our population, we’re fortunate that these economic indicators have gone in the right direction but I feel like we can only go up from here but in a smart, positive way not in a reckless manner,” he said.

Mayor Michelle de la Isla says additions like Washburn Tech’s East Topeka Learning Center in less developed areas help the capital city grow and it’s especially impressive coming out of a pandemic.

“What’s happening in Topeka and Shawnee Co. is nothing but the fruit of the collective labor of everybody in our community,” she said. “Our county commissioners, our council members, our private sector individuals but also the team right here at the GTP and it has been instrumental in making sure that we’re being so successful.”

Their 2021 Top City interns program began the first of this month for the fifth year in a row. Which they hope to continue to show young workers Topeka could be the place for them.

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