The Kansas City region is a rarity in that it straddles two states. Of the fourteen counties and 2.2 million residents in our metropolitan statistical area (MSA), only about 500,000 live in Kansas City, Missouri proper. And while the region is often feted for its relatively strong economic performance among our midwestern peer cities, that strength is chiefly due to the Kansas portion of the metro area. Kansas City, Missouri must come to terms with its failures and stop hiding behind our more successful regional partners.
According to an analysis of Census data conducted by Aaron Renn for the Show-Me Institute, the Missouri portion of the region is falling behind in every measure: per capita income, college degree attainment, population growth, job growth, and well as personal income and GDP growth. Renn points out:
The Missouri portion of the metro area by itself would perform worse and be ranked lower on all the statistics above as compared to the Kansas City metro area as a whole. This is due to the superior performance of the Kansas portion of the region compared to the Missouri portion.
Show-Me Institute researchers have written for years about the many things Kansas City can do to make itself a more attractive place to live, work, and shop. Too often rosy regional stories have lulled local leaders into a false sense of success. Kansas City, Missouri isn’t succeeding. This report should spur leaders and activists to look seriously at our own performance and work to improve it.