Feb. 15, 2018

New KCEG blog series documents equity issues facing Kansas

The demographics of Kansas are changing.

Women are participating in the workforce more than ever before. Kansas is increasingly becoming a more racially and ethnically diverse state. With these shifts, it is imperative that we address the barriers facing women and people of color to ensure continued prosperity for the state and every Kansan.

A new series of blog posts published by the Kansas Center for Economic Growth examines how addressing systemic barriers facing Kansans can strengthen our state’s economy. Using data broken out by race and ethnicity, gender, and immigration status, the entries highlight areas for policymakers to address to ensure continued economic prosperity for every Kansan.

Policy and research analyst Emily Fetsch examined data in recent reports from the Kansas Health Institute and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Findings include:

  • While the unemployment rate for African-American Kansans decreased from 16 to 13 percent from 2010 to 2015, African-American Kansans remain more than 2.5 times more likely to be unemployed compared to non-Hispanic white Kansans due to hiring discrimination and differences in educational attainment.
  • Kansas women, notably Kansas women of color, are more likely to live in poverty than men. To help women fulfill their economic potential, policymakers and employers can do more. Employers can implement fair hiring practices, ensure pay equity, and provide adequate parental leave for both mothers and fathers.
  • Undocumented immigrants in Kansas currently pay $68 million a year in state and local taxes. If these Kansans had full legal status, they would contribute $11 million more for a total tax contribution of $79 million a year.
  • Wage discrimination and other systemic barriers have skewed Kansas incomes. White households have 1.6 times the median household income of African-American households in the state, and 1.4 times the median household income of Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native households.

The full series, along with Fetsch’s analysis and suggestions for creating a more equitable state, can be found at For further questions or interviews, email or call (785) 217-6622.

KCEG aims to create a Kansas where every resident can thrive. Examining and considering this data gives state lawmakers and opinion leaders an important starting point in considering the work ahead.

ClayNew KCEG blog series documents equity issues facing Kansans