An organization like the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce is pulled in a number of directions from people throughout the community looking for support for a variety of initiatives. We obviously have been a strong community organization over the years that has advocated for a number of projects that have enhanced the quality of life of Manhattan area residents throughout our history.
But we always have to focus on the fact that we are a business organization that believes very strongly in the concept of growth as a way to achieve long-term prosperity and a great quality of life for everyone in the Manhattan region. Growth is the connecting factor that helps all businesses, whether you need more customers or more employees and is at the heart of our policy agendas.
Unfortunately, and despite the best efforts of many, external factors have led to lower growth in population and jobs than we are used to. In 2020, the U.S. Census showed a 3.5% increase from 2010 or .35% annual growth. That is the lowest 10-year growth by far in any historic census count. The previous low was 14.4% in 1900. The 2010 percentage increase was 16.6%.
There are a number of factors that have influenced this, including reductions at Fort Riley and K-State and growth in the unincorporated areas of Pottawatomie County. But we believe that this growth rate is unsustainable to keep Manhattan the way we all want it.
Our board of directors adopted a legislative agenda with this in mind that focuses on growth, economic development and investments in projects to attract new jobs and residents. You can find it here.
The agenda was developed after extensive work of our Business Advocacy Committee and leadership which included evaluating results from the survey of our members last fall. I want to thank that group as well as our board for their commitment to quality growth and economic prosperity.
We will continue to evaluate issues as they arise for addition and will remove items as they are completed or become less relevant. Let us know if you have any thoughts.