According to 2020 Census figures released last week, Grain Valley has surpassed the 15,000 residents with an official count of 15,627. This represents at 22% increase from the last census count in 2010.
City Administrator Ken Murphy said City staff was anxiously awaiting the figures after data had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Prior to the release of the data, we estimated that Grain Valley’s population was almost 15,000. We were excited to see that we were underestimating the number a bit. Keeping in mind that the census number is from April of last year and taking into account the number of new houses going up, we are probably closer to 16,000 residents as we speak,” Murphy said.
The census data shows an educated and connected population, with 94.2% of adults with at least a high school diploma (higher than the national average of 88%) and 25.4% with at least a bachelor degree. 95.6% of households have a computer and 91.5% have broadband internet access.
The positive picture painted by the census data is one way city and economic development leaders sell the community to prospective businesses.
“With respect to business attraction, one of the many factors that businesses and site selectors take into account is population within a certain radius of where they are looking to locate. The higher that population number, the more attractive an area is to them. The other positive factor is the continued growth. If you invest in Grain Valley, you aren’t investing in a stagnant community, you are investing in future growth potential which is always a nice selling point. When looking at the numbers around the metropolitan area, we are growing faster than the majority of cities in the immediate area which will be a great thing for us to share with developers moving forward,” Murphy said.
Census data is also used to determine if current and planned City services are adequate for current and future growth.
“When looking at what services are required for our citizens in a growing community, a lot of the focus is on making sure we are in good shape from a capacity standpoint for infrastructure (water, sewer, streets). In addition to maintaining the infrastructure we currently have in place we must plan for the needs that come with future growth,” Murphy said.
In addition to the traditional infrastructure needs, there is also the need to invest in staffing, equipment and facilities to ensure we can continue to provide the services requested by our citizens. This is all encompassing and includes the needs of police, public works, utility billing, community development and administration.”
Murphy said the City’s CIP (Capital Improvements Plan) is one of the tools used by staff to ensure a long term approach is in place to address needs.