Kansas may not be rich in beachfront property or skyscrapers, but the Sunflower State has more government employees per 10,000 residents than almost all other states. According to Rich States, Poor States, which collected 2016 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 681.9 public employees for every 10,000 residents in Kansas. Only Alaska and Wyoming have higher ratios of public employees to residents.
Most states provide the same services, so policymakers in the public-employee-heavy states should be asking how the states with fewer employees per resident are faring. Nevada at 385.6 has the fewest public employees per 10,000 residents compared to Wyoming’s 870.6 employees per 10,000 residents.
Kansas has ranked 48th among states since 2006, when the state employed 669.1 people for every 10,000 residents. At one time, there were 717.4 public employees per 10,000. This year’s number, 681.9, marks an increase over last year, when the state had 669.8 public employees per 10,000 residents.
In theory, Kansas should be offering great public services thanks to its abundance of employees. That, in turn, should be helping drive economic development, but that’s not how it’s working. Kansas is often one of the states people are most likely to move from. Kansas has had negative migration since 1995.
The Rich States, Poor States rankings use 15 different indicators–including public employees per 10,000 residents–to determine states’ economic outlook. The Sunflower State ranks 32nd in the U.S. for its economic performance overall.