Assessing Demographic Trends: Clay County, Kansas Comprehensive Plan Confirms No Growth Since 1980

By Jayson Henderson

According to the Clay County, Kansas Comprehensive Plan 2023, the county has experienced a consistent decline in population since 1980. Between 1980 and 2020, the county’s population decreased by 17.2%, with the most significant decline occurring between 1980 and 1990. This decline is primarily attributed to a decrease in population in its largest community, Clay Center, which saw a 29% decrease between 1980 and 2020. Additionally, smaller cities such as Morganville, Vining, Green, Oak Hill, Clifton, and Longford also experienced significant population losses. However, Wakefield stands out as an exception, showing a growth of 14.5% since 1980.

In the unincorporated areas of the county, data reveals a continuous decline in population since 1980. Overall, Clay County has not witnessed any population growth since 1980. The Comprehensive Plan projects a further decline, estimating the population to be 7,719 by 2030 compared to the 2020 figure of 8,117.

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