Late last month, the U.S. Census Bureau released population estimates indicating Platte County is the fastest-growing county in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Between 2010 — the date of the last federal census — and 2018, Platte County has grown by more than 15 percent, pulling ahead of Clay County and Johnson County, Kan.
In 2010, Platte County’s population was tallied at 89,325 residents. By July 2018, the population has grown to 103,985 — a 15.3 percent increase.
According to Alicia Stephens, executive director of the Platte County Economic Development Council, Platte County’s consistent No. 1 ranking for percentage of population growth is fueled by many factors, each one of them equally important.
“Platte County is synonymous with the word choice,” Stephens said. “Our area is growing because of available choices . . . . choices in jobs, in community sizes, in housing prices and in school district sizes.”
She credits the four county school districts as draws for families searching for a new home. In the Park Hill School District, three new schools are currently under construction, including a high school program that could evolve into the district’s third high school. Platte County R-3 has also talked about expansion, with construction of a new school and reorganization of existing school buildings within the past few years. A second high school may also be on the horizon for R-3, due to projected growth to the southeast of Platte City and in the Twin Creeks area now under development by the City of Kansas City.
Another factor is Platte County’s status as home of the city’s only major airport.
“KCI Airport is a major economic driver for the county and the reason many businesses and individuals call Platte County home,” she said. “In today’s economy, people are choosing a place to live first and then finding a job thus making Platte County’s quality of life a driving force in our growth.”
Stephens said the EDC will continue working to grow the county.
“We strive to improve the business sector, the environment and the quality of life in our community,” Stephens said. “We focus on growing the business base in Platte County through attraction, retention and expansion; as well as community development such as infrastructure improvements, public policy and quality of life.”