U.S. Census Bureau predicts big things for Crawford County

According to the U.S. Census Bureau and the University of Kansas, Crawford County is on the grow.

They predict that Crawford is the only Southeast Kansas county that will see its population increase during the next two decades. Pittsburg’s city manager Daron Hall thinks he knows what’s behind the prediction.

“Number one: you have to look at the university. That’s a big deal. Number two: you have to look at where we’re located. We’re unique in Kansas. Our geography and the climate down here, it’s hard to find that anywhere else in the state,” said Hall.

But the positive growth predictions don’t stop there. The University of Kansas thinks that from 2014 through 2044, Crawford County will see its population grow by more than 14%, unlike neighboring counties.

The president of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce points to Crawford County’s growing economy when explaining the predicted growth.

“Well, I think our business growth has been a big part of that. Particularly in sectors like our healthcare sector, hospitality and retail, but also our manufacturing sector has been extremely strong. And so they’re creating on a regular basis, good jobs,” said chamber president Blake Benson.

Both city hall and the chamber of commerce see bringing in more housing and quality childcare as challenges facing the city and county, but say solutions are already being worked on. And they’re confident that as long as Crawford County’s cost of living stays where it is while the opportunities keep growing, that population prediction will ring true.

“I think one thing that sets Pittsburg apart is, you have those amenities, but the cost of living is 20% lower than it would be, even in Kansas City,” said Benson.