Topeka area becomes younger, more diverse according to Census

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Capital City’s population is becoming younger and more diverse.
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 12:57 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Capital City’s population is becoming younger and more diverse.

The Greater Topeka Partnership says the U.S. Census Bureau released its 2021 data on Sept. 15 which shows that the population of Shawnee Co. has increased by 1,389 residents since 2019. This is the fastest the population has grown in a decade.

“Between 2019 and 2021, the population in the county grew at an impressive rate,” said Freddy Mawyin, senior economic advisor for the Greater Topeka Partnership and GO Topeka. “This was the largest and fastest population growth we have seen in the last decade. Our initiatives to attract new and younger talent are paying dividends, and this is evident in higher employment numbers, more attraction and retention projects, and a decrease in the county’s median age. It is also important to note that the community is becoming more diverse, as our non-white population grew by almost 7%. That growth is being led by increases in local Hispanic and bi-racial groups.”

GTP also noted that the county is the only community among the top-five largest counties in the state to b become younger during the 2-year period with the median age decreasing by nearly 2 years to 38.4.

“This is what happens when you put strategy into motion,” said Matt Pivarnik, CEO of the Greater Topeka Partnership. “Our record-hot housing market the past two years has led us to anticipate some population growth, but we are very excited to see this type of momentum occurring in a relatively short period of time! This is yet another metric validating the progress this community has fought for over the course of Momentum 2022. I couldn’t be more proud and can’t wait to see what else we accomplish together through Momentum 2027 — because Topeka/Shawnee County is just getting started.”

GTP noted that the decrease was driven by increases in children under 18 (+1.9%) and young adults between 25-44 (+7.8%). In 2021, it said the county led the state in children under 18 and young adults between 25-44.

“Our growth in young professionals, in particular, is very exciting,” said Fatima Perez-Luthi, incoming chair of Forge Young Talent and a member of Forge’s DEI committee. “Our mission is to provide young adults in Topeka and Shawnee County new ways to connect and build the future they want for themselves. I am proud to see our community make notable gains in this demographic. Word is getting out, and it’s become clear Topeka is the best community for young adults and families to get started in.”

The data indicates that the county saws the largest demographic gains in those who identify as bi-racial - growing by 68%. Meanwhile, the number of local Asian residents increased by 24.8% and Latino Topekans increased by 4.8%.

“It is interesting to note that this growth aligns with the launch of our Choose Topeka program,” said Molly Howey, president of GO Topeka. “Although the initiative is limited in scope, the international attention the program continues to receive has reintroduced Topeka and Shawnee County to people across the country. GO Topeka developed the program to better attract talent by encouraging them to consider Topeka as their future home — and that strategy is paying off faster than we expected.”

For more information about the City of Topeka, click HERE.