Immigration Facts
Summary Demographic State Data (and Source)
Population (2012 CB est.) 2,885,905
Population (2000 CB est.) 2,688,418
Foreign-Born Population (2012 CB est.) 86,816
Foreign-Born Population (2000 CB est.) 134,735
Share Foreign-Born (2012) 6.7 %
Share Foreign-Born (2000) 4.8%
Naturalized U.S. Citizens (2012 CB est.): 67,937
Share Naturalized (2012) 36.4 %
Legal Immigrant Admission (DHS 2001 – 2012) 45,482
Refugee Admission (HHS 2000 – 2012) 4,361
Illegal Alien Population (2010 FAIR est.) 70,000
Costs of Illegal Aliens (2009 FAIR) $441,870,841
Projected 2050 Population (2006 FAIR) 3,473,000

State Population

According to the Census Bureau, the population of Kansas in 2012 was 2,885,905 residents.

Between 2000 (population 2,688,418) and 2012, the state's average annual population change was 16,121 residents. That was an annual average change of 0.6 percent. The comparable national annual rate of change was 0.9 percent.

Between 1990 (population 2,477,574) and 2000, the state's annual average population change was 21,084 residents. The annual average rate of change was 0.8 percent compared to the national rate of change of 1.2 percent.

Foreign-Born Population

According to the Census Bureau the foreign-born population of Kansas was about 86,816 persons in 2012. This estimate meant a foreign-born population share of 6.7 percent. The chart above shows the long-term change in the state's foreign-born population based on Census Bureau data.

Foreign-Born Change

Between 2000 and 2012 the Census Bureau estimate indicates an average annual rate of change in the foreign-born population of about 4,250 people, compared to the state's annual average population change of about 16,121  people. That is a 26.4  percent share of the state's population change (not including the children born in the United States to illegal aliens). The foreign-born population grew by 38.7 percent between 2000 and 2012.

Immigration also contributes to population growth through the U.S.-born children of immigrants. Nationally the share of births to the foreign-born is about double their share of the population. A 13.4 percent share of the state's current births is large enough to account for about 5,390 births a year. Combining the average increase in the foreign-born population and estimated immigrant births suggests that immigration may account for about 9,640 persons added to the state's population annually, i.e., nearly 59.8 percent of the state's overall population increase.

As of 2012 about 49.5 percent of Kansas's foreign-born population had arrived in the state since 2000. This compares with the national average 40.9 percent. In 2000, 55.1 percent of the state's foreign-born population that had arrived since the previous Census.

Foreign-Born Characteristics

An indicator of the change in Kansas's immigrant population may be seen in data on the share of the population over five years of age that speaks a language other than English at home. Between 2000 and 2012, the share of non-English speakers changed from 8.7 percent to 11.2 percent. In 2000, 44.9 percent of those persons in also said they spoke English less than very well. In the 2012 estimate, the share was 39.3 percent that spoke English less than very well. In 2012 Spanish speakers were 67.1 percent of those who spoke other than English at home, and 70.4 percent of those who spoke English less than very well.

The chart above shows the regional composition of the state's foreign-born population and how it has changed from between 2000 and 2012.


Census Bureau data in 2012 indicate that 67,937 residents of Kansas, or 36.4 percent of the foreign-born population in Kansas, were naturalized U.S. citizens, compared to 44,763 residents, or 33.2 percent, in 2000.

Nationally, 40.3 percent of the foreign-born population was naturalized in 2000, and 45.8 percent in 2012.

Net International Migration (NIM)

Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the Census Bureau estimated that between 2000 and 2012, the change in Kansas's population resulting from net international migration has been about 10,415 people. It was 36.3 percent of total change (not including the children born to the immigrants after their arrival in the United States). 1   The remainder was due to net domestic migration and natural change (births minus deaths).


  1. A negative percentage results when there was an overall population decrease. A percentage greater than 100 percent results when domestic migration is negative, i.e, a net loss from interstate migration.

Immigrant Admissions

Recent "green card" recipients who intend to reside in Kansas were 467 percent above admissions just after adoption of the current immigration system in 1965. During the 1965 to 1969 period, annual admissions averaged about 926 persons. During the most recent five years, annual admissions averaged about 5,246 persons. Immigrant admissions data are from the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.

The chart above shows recent immigrant admissions and the cumulative amount of immigrant admissions since FY'65. The cumulative total of immigrant admissions to Kansas between fiscal years 1965 and 2012 has been 140,570 persons.

The data for fiscal years 1989-91 were artificially raised by the inclusion of former illegal aliens who were amnestied in 1986. According to INS data (1991) the number of amnesty applicants from Kansas was 7,575 (3,571 pre-1982 residents and 4,004 agricultural workers). These data were published by the Immigration and Naturalization Service and reported in "Report on the Legalized Alien Population," March 1992.

Admissions by Nationality: FY'96 - FY'05

The table below furnishes INS data by nationality on the immigrants who were admitted for residence in Kansas between 1996 and 2005.

The INS data are for nationals of the countries with the largest number of immigrants admitted or adjusted to legal residence each year since 1996. The absence of data means that the total number of admissions to the United States by nationals of that country was not enough to merit detailed reporting in that year.

The Department of Homeland Security website has detailed data on immigrant admissions since FY'03 by year and by source country and intended state of residence. (See http://www.dhs.gov/files/statistics/publications/yearbook.shtm) then select the desired year, click Legal Permanent Residents, data and then select "supplemental table 1."

Chart of Immigrant Admission by Fiscal Year


Kansas has received 4,361 refugees over the most recent ten fiscal years including 384 refugees in fiscal year 2012. The chart above shows the annual admissions over the last ten years and the cumulative total of those admissions using data complied by the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The U.S. government program that distributes new refugees among the states is the only immigration program that provides state governments the opportunity to participate in deciding how many newcomers will come to that state each year.

Illegal Aliens

Kansas Fiscal Costs
Due to Illegal Aliens
           ($M) (Pct.)
K-12 educ. $215.80 48.8%
LEP educ. $43.40 9.8%
Medicaid+ $41.90 9.5%
SCHIP $11.60 2.6%
Justice $31.60 7.2%
Welfare+ $34.40 7.8%
General $61.60 13.9%
Total $441.90  
Tax receipts $18.20  
Net Cost $423.70  
Source: "The State Cost Studies"

FAIR Estimate - FAIR estimates the illegal alien population of Kansas as of 2010 was about 70,000 persons. This is part of an overall estimate of the U.S. illegal alien population of about 11,900,000 persons.

DHS Estimate - The current estimate by DHS of the illegal alien population in Kansas was n/a in 2012. The DHS estimate is available for only the 10 states with the largest illegal alien populations. The DHS estimate of the national illegal alien population in 2012 was 11,430,000.

Other Estimates - The Pew Hispanic Center estimates the illegal alien population of the state at 65,000 as of 2010.

Fiscal Cost of Illegal Aliens

FAIR's most recent estimate of the cost outlays due to illegal immigration and tax receipts from illegal aliens in Kansas are as shown on the right:

Limited English Proficiency Students

Data are not available nationally on immigrant students (either legally or illegally resident in the United States) who are enrolled in primary and secondary schools (K-12). However, a large majority of these students enrolled in Limited English Proficiency/English Language Learning (LEP/ELL) instruction programs may be assumed to be children of either legal or illegal immigrants with a predominance of children of illegal aliens.

In Kansas, LEP public school enrollment in 2010 ( 40,447) was 216.6 percent of LEP enrollment a decade earlier. By contrast, overall K-12 enrollment in the state was 100.5 percent of enrollment a decade earlier.

Population Projection

FAIR projected Kansas's population in 2050 likely would be between 3,388,000 million and 3,473,000 million with current levels of immigration. Alternatively, the population could be lower (2,982,000) if immigration were reduced to a level where it balanced the number of U.S. residents leaving to reside outside of the United states, i.e., zero-net immigration. See "Projecting the U.S. Population to 2050: Four Immigration Scenarios," FAIR 2006.

Foreign Students

Data compiled by the Institute of International Education (IIE) record the number of foreign students attending post-secondary school in Kansas as 9,568 in 2013.

The chart above illustrates the change in the number of foreign students attending school in Kansas since 1997.

For information on foreign student issues see: Foreign Students in the United States.

Immigration Impact

Sanctuary Policies

City or County


Wichita Police Department Policy Manual: Policy 514 - Illegal Aliens/Foreign Nationals (2006)

  • “Officers shall not seek out or stop a person suspected of being an alien just because he/she is suspected of being in this country illegally. A law enforcement officer in Kansas does not have the power of arrest for a violation of Federal immigration law. Should an officer have probable cause to believe that a person that is stopped was previously deported from the United States, the officer shall contact ICE....Re-entry after deportation is a violation of Federal Criminal Law, separate from immigration law.”
  • “A Wichita police officer’s involvement with persons suspected of being in this country illegally is limited to situations where probable cause exists independently from the immigration laws....”

Environmental and Quality of Life Profile

Water: By 2050 the state's population is projected to rise to nearly 3.5 million.1 Kansas has a daily, per-capita water demand of 142 gallons. The projected population increase indicates that by 2050, human water demand in Kansas may have increased by up to 111.8 million gallons each day.2

Water shortages, particularly in western Kansas, are a real concern. The Ogallala Aquifer is the main source of water in the region, which relies heavily on this resource for grain and cattle production.3 Water levels of the Ogallala Aquifer are declining because it is being pumped out faster than it is being replenished. In some areas water levels of the Ogallala have declined in excess of 150 feet since large-scale pumping began.4 Although the Ogallala Aquifer is an enormous water source, it is not inexhaustible, as long as pumping exceeds replenishment.

The Ogallala is critical to farming in the center of the nation. At least 12 billion cubic meters are being drawn from it every year. At the current rate, the aquifer may be dry in less than 25 years.5 Limited water resources are being exacerbated by growing human consumption. When the aquifer finally runs dry, the High Plains Region will be little more than desert.

Traffic: Kansas' highway traffic increased by 27 percent between 1990 and 2008. In 2010, The Road Information Project (TRIP) reported that 25 percent of the state's major urban highways are considered congested.6 As population growth put more traffic on the roads, the average commute for Kansas's residents increased 16.3 percent during the 1990s, from 17.2 minutes to 20 minutes in 2000.7

The typical Wichita commuter lost 6 hours in 2007 due to traffic congestion, resulting in an estimated $27 million cost in fuel and lost time. In Kansas City, whose urban area includes parts of Missouri and Kansas, the 15 hour annual delay wasted 9 gallons of gas and cost commuters $267 million.8 About 8 percent of Kansas commuters had a commute of 45 minutes or longer in 2008.9

Increased traffic brings wear and tear along with it. One-fifth (20%) of the state's roads were named as being in poor or mediocre condition in 2010, and 20 percent of bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. As a result, the typical Kansas motorist pays $319 per year in extra vehicle maintenance and operating costs. 10

Disappearing Open Space: The amount of developed land in Kansas increased by 363,300 acres from 1982 to 2007, growing at a pace of 13,650 acres per year over the last ten years of that period.11 If growth continues its current pace, Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita will sprawl together into one giant megalopolis, experts say.12

Sprawl: A study of urban sprawl between 1970 and 1990 that calculated the impact of population increase and per capita land use found that 268.6 square miles of additional land were consumed by urban sprawl in the Kansas City, MO metropolitan area, which spills into Kansas, and 33.6 percent of that sprawl was attributable to population increase.13

Crowded Housing: An estimated 18,682 of Kansas' housing units were classified as crowded in 2008, defined as units with more than one occupant per room. This amounted to 1.7 percent of the state's housing units. In addition, 4,174 units were severely crowded, with at least 1.5 occupants per room.14 Nationally, crowded housing rates are driven upward by immigration, where 27 percent of children in immigrant families live in crowded housing compared to 9 percent of children with native-born parents. In Kansas, the shares are 26 percent of children in immigrant families are in crowded housing compared to 5 percent of those in native-headed households.15

Poverty: Kansas' immigrants are more likely to be poor than their native-born counterparts. In 2007, 21.8 percent of foreign-born households were below the poverty line, compared to 10.5 percent of native households. An additional 12.6 percent of the foreign-born and 8.8 percent of native households were not in poverty but had incomes less than 1.5 times the poverty level.16 25.9 percent of children in immigrant families were poor in 2006, compared to 14.0 percent of native children.17

Air Quality: In the American Lung Association's 2010 assessment, only seven Kansas counties were rated on high ozone days. Sedgwick's "B" was the highest grade, followed by Linn, Trego, and Johnson Counties with "C" marks. Leavenworth and Sumer scored a "D," and Wyandotte, an "F."18

Solid Waste: Kansas generates 1.73 tons of solid waste per capita each year.19

Schools: The K-12 enrollment is projected to increase by more than 3,700 students by 201520

Some schools are struggling with overcrowding. In Garden City, many teachers don't have classrooms of their own due to lack of space, and even the portable classrooms are full.21

  1. Jack Martin and Stanley Fogel. "Projecting the U.S. Population to 2050." FAIR. March 2006.
  2. U.S. Geological Survey 2000.
  3. Bridgette West. "Professor Researches Kansas Aquifer, Water Shortages" Kansas-State Collegian. April 10, 2007.
  4. V.L. Mcguire. "Ground Water Depletion in the High Plains Aquifer." USGS Fact Sheet. 2007.
  5. Heidi Stevenson. "How Corporations Drain Our Aquifers for Profit (Part 2)." Natural News. June 11, 2008.
  6. The Road Information Project (TRIP), "Key Facts about Kansas' Surface Transportation System and Federal Funding," May 2010.
  7. "Table DP-1-4, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000," Census 2000, U.S. Census Bureau. "Table DP-1-4, Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 1990," 1990 Census, U.S. Census Bureau.
  8. Texas Transportation Institute, "Urban Mobility Report 2009."
  9. American Community Survey, 2008 Estimates, Custom Data Table.
  10. The Road Information Project (TRIP), "Key Facts about Kansas' Surface Transportation System and Federal Funding," May 2010.
  11. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, "Summary Report: 2007 National Resources Inventory."
  12. Amy Shafer, "One Giant Mass," Associated Press, December 18, 2001.
  13. Beck, Roy and Leon Kolankiewicz, "Weighing Sprawl Factors in Large U.S. Cities," NumbersUSA, March 2001.
  14. American Community Survey, Three-Year Estimates 2006-2008. Data retrieved using ACS Custom Table tool.
  15. Kids Count Data Center, which used 2008 American Community Survey Data.
  16. Migration Information Source State Data (Migration Policy Institute)
  17. Urban Institute, Children of Immigrants Data Tool.
  18. American Lung Association, "State of the Air 2010."
  19. Report Card for America's Infrastructure 2005," American Society of Civil Engineers.
  20. "Public Elementary and Secondary School Student Enrollment, High School Completions, and Staff From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2005-06', National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, June 2007. "Projections of Education Statistics to 2015," National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education.
  21. "Garden City High School Overcrowded, Solutions Hard to Come By," Associated Press, December 17, 2001.


Other Resources  

State Local Reform Organizations

State Representatives Voting Record


Updated January 2012