Legislative districts overpopulated in 4 Kansas urban areas

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Laborers work on the roof of a house under construction in new subdivision Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Overland Park, Kan. While most of rural Kansas continued a long trend of population loss, urban areas like suburban Johnson County experienced continued growth. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — New figures from the Kansas Legislature’s research staff show that shifts in population left legislators in four urban areas with too many people in their districts and lawmakers from most rural areas with too few.

The numbers released this week showed that 22 of 40 Senate districts and 78 of 125 House districts have too little population after the past 10 years.

Districts in the Kansas City, Wichita, Lawrence and Manhattan areas have too many people.

Current boundaries were drawn in 2012, and the Republican-controlled Legislature must redraw them next year so that districts are as equal in population as possible.

New census figures show that 1.34 million of the state’s 2.9 million residents live in the 10 largest cities, or nearly 46%. That’s up about 87,000 people or 7% from the 2010 population of 1.25 million. The two large cities that didn’t grow were Topeka and Salina. Topeka lost 0.7% of its residents, down to about 126,600, and Salina’s dropped 1.7% to about 46,900.

The state’s largest city of Wichita grew 4% to about 397,500 residents.

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