February 26, 2011

Latest Census Shows 2.8% Growth in Independence

By Adrianne DeWeese and Jeff Fox

An increasing population is always a positive sign, Independence officials say, and that growth should only continue to flourish throughout the next decade with the opening of the Little Blue Valley.

U.S. Census Bureau made it official Thursday: At 116,830 people, the city remains the fourth largest in Missouri, though fast-growing Columbia (108,500) and Lee’s Summit (91,364) have gained a lot of ground. Independence grew a modest 2.8 percent over the last decade.

Mayor Reimal said the 116,830 figure shows “that we have grown from the figures that most everyone quotes. It isn’t bad when the housing market is as bad it is and businesses and people are tightening their belts and not wanting to move around a lot.”
The mayor said following the 2007 transfer of seven western Independence schools into the Independence School District, more families began establishing a more permanent residency on that side of town.

“I look at it in an optimistic way: I think the economy is going to turn around,” Reimal said. “I think we’re going to continue to see businesses turn around and the Little Blue Valley area is going to develop into housing, hopefully as fast as the developers had projected it would.”