PLATTE COUNTY, Mo. — The numbers are out.
Platte County's population grew more than any other county in the metro. According to new data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau, Platte County has grown by 15.3 percent since 2010.
"I like to say it's about choice. People come here because they have choices," said Alicia Stephens, executive director for the Platte County Economic Development Council. "They have choices for the school district, choices of homes, the environment they want to live in."
Another reason for the growth, according to Stephens, is proximity to the airport.
"KCI is a big economic engine for us," she said.
Following Platte County in population growth was Clay County (11 percent), followed by Johnson (9.8 percent), Jackson (3.9 percent) and Wyandotte (0.02 percent) counties.
"Johnson County remains consistently the leader in population growth, but the Northland is starting to come on pretty strong, finally," said Jeff Pinkerton, a senior researcher for Mid-America Regional Council.
According to Pinkerton, population growth is important for several reasons. It can dictate economic policies on the local level, he said. Additionally, population growth can help attract businesses.
"It is kind of a chicken-and-egg situation. Both things have to happen in tandem, but (companies) are going to be looking at regions that are going to provide them increasingly with a workforce," Pinkerton said.
Overall, the Kansas City metro continued to grow in population. However, Kansas City dropped one ranking after Austin, Texas, passed the metro in population size.
"We kind of got more of the same. Pretty solid numbers, about 16,000 people or so up from a year ago," Pinkerton said. "That's about what we've seen since 2010 on average. It's a solid number. We run at a pretty steady consistent pace while there are others advancing much faster."