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Kansas Faces Demographic Changes

KDHE Publishes 2017 Annual Summary of Vital Statistics

The report may suggest Kansas is facing demographic changes.


TOPEKA –  The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has posted the Kansas Annual Summary of Vital Statistics, 2017 online at The annual report may suggest Kansas is facing demographic changes.


“The Annual Summary of Vital Statistics summarizes key demographic and health information gathered from vital event records registered in 2017,” said Lou Saadi, State Registrar and Director Bureau of Epidemiology and Public Health Informatics. “Since the data collected represents the entire population of the State, it serves as an excellent source for policy makers, program managers and the public to assess and study the health of Kansans.”


The report documents:

  • slowing population growth and an aging population
  • continuing declines in the number and rate of births
  • total fertility rates below the replacement rate
  • decreases in the rate of natural increase,
  • decreases in marriage rates
  • decreases in teen pregnancy


Other trends being noted for 2017 included:

  • homicides in the state increased by 21 percent
  • suicides increased by 6.3 percent
  • unintentional injuries increased by 7.2 percent


Kansas’s total population as of July 1, 2017 was estimated at 2,913,123, an increase of 5,834 (0.2%) from the estimate of Kansas’s total population as of July 1, 2016 (2,907,289) released in 2017. The median age of Kansans in 2017 was 36.6 years, a 4.0 percent increase from the median age of 35.2 in 1998. The median ages for men and women were 35.4 and 37.9, respectively.


There were 36,464 live births to Kansas resident mothers in 2017. The most recent year with fewer live births was 1976, when there were 35,278 live births. The birth rate in 2017 was 12.5 births per 1,000 population, the lowest rate since Kansas began statewide recording of vital events in 1912.


The 2017 birth rate of 12.5 births per 1,000 population is the lowest birth rate on record. The rate is part of a birth rate decrease that began in 2008.


One element of the decline in childbearing in recent years is due to factors generally considered desirable: teen pregnancy rates have declined from 32.4 pregnancies per 1,000 young women in the 10-19 age-group in 1998 to 12.7 per 1,000 in 2017.


In 2017, the state’s rate of natural increase was 3.3 persons per 1,000 population, a decrease of 19.5 percent from 4.1 per 1,000 population in 2016, and the lowest rate of natural increase in the past twenty years. The rate of natural increase is the birth rate minus the death rate.  A negative value for rate of natural increase would mean the insufficient births are occurring to replace the number of people dying in the state. Over the past 20 years (1998-2017), the rate of natural increase has fluctuated between a maximum of 6.3 persons per 1,000 population (2007) and a minimum of 3.3 persons per 1,000 population (2017).


The Kansas total fertility rate (TFR) in 2017 was 2,053 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age. The Kansas TFR has been below the replacement rate of 2,100 for each of the last five years. Total fertility rate is the number of children who would be born per 1,000 women if women were to pass through the childbearing years bearing children according to the current distribution of age-specific fertility rates.


Deaths in Kansas, 26,725, represented a 2.3% increase from the 26,129 deaths in 2016. Increases in 2017 over 2016 were noted for selected causes:

  • Suicide, 512 in 2016 to 544 in 2017, up 6.3 percent;
  • Homicide, 148 in 2016 to 179 in 2017, up 21.0 percent;
  • Unintentional Injury, 1,468 in 2016 to 1,573 in 2017, up 7.2 percent.


Heart disease with 5,636 deaths was the leading cause of death in 2017, followed by cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, unintentional injuries, and stroke.


In 2017, 17,274 marriages occurred in Kansas, a decrease of 3.8 percent from the 2016 total of 17,948 marriages. The Kansas marriage rate in 2017 was 5.9 marriages per 1,000 population. This rate was 4.8 percent lower than the 6.2 marriages per 1,000 population recorded in 2016, and was the lowest rate recorded for the state of Kansas in the last twenty years (1998–2017). For the entire period, Kansas marriage rates have been lower than U.S. marriage rates.


The annual summary does not attempt to determine causes for these trends, as it is a summary of events recorded by the KDHE Office of Vital Statistics. Factors impacting the state’s demography can not be discerned from vital event records.


Kansas Information for Communities in a query tool the public can use to look at specific birth and death outcomes and prepare statistics.  The web location is

Harper Directs Finale Concert Dec. 11

Pittsburg Youth Chorale

Tuesday, December 11th
Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium & Convention Center


Pittsburg Youth Chorale is under the direction of MJ Harper, composed of 4th-6th grade musicians from Southeast Kansas. The purpose of this vocal ensemble is to further grow vocal abilities, musical knowledge, and choral repertoire. Participants perform at community events. If you would like us to perform for your event, please contact:

MJ Harper at or 620-719-6633.

Santa at Walmart Dec. 7-9

Come visit Santa Claus at the Fort Scott Wal-Mart at the below days and times. 

December 7. Friday. 4 – 8 pm.

December 8. Saturday. 10 am – 2 pm.

December 9. Sunday. 1 – 5 pm.

There is no charge to take a photo with Santa.  However, donations are accepted on behalf of American Legion Post 25’s children and youth programs. 


State Poetry and Art Contest

Kansas Department of Commerce Announces the National Career Development Poetry & Art Contest


The Kansas Department of Commerce is partnering with the National Career Development Association (NCDA) to participate in the 53rd NCDA Annual Poetry and Art Contest.

The contest theme is “Using Careers to Break Barriers, Empower Lives & Achieve Equity.”

The National Career Development Association promotes career development through its annual celebration of National Career Development Month. Every November, career development professionals are encouraged to celebrate with career related activities including the annual Poetry and Art Contest.

Entries will be judged on how they celebrate and inspire career development with a positive tone while emphasizing the national theme.


Every adult and student enrolled in school is eligible, as well as adult practitioners who are not in school. Contest divisions areas include:

o    Primary – grades K-2

o    Intermediate – grades 3-5

o    Middle – grades 6-8

o    Senior – grades 9-12

o    Adult Student – ages 18 and older, enrolled in school

o    Open Adult – ages 18 and older (student teachers, parents, professionals, etc.)


Poetic Form: Acceptable poetic forms, e.g. cinquain, free verse, diamante, haiku, limerick, metered, rhyming, blank verse

Size: Submit each poem on a single sheet of paper 8.5″ x 11″ in 12-point font.



Lettering: Simple bold lettering is preferred. Captions are to be used to convey the theme, attract attention, and to achieve goals of clarity, vigor and originality. All lettering will be considered part of the design.



Category 1 (C1): Standard use of ink, pencil, poster paints, magic marker, acrylics, and oils.

Category 2 (C2): Use of photos, clipart, graphic art software, collage, cut and pasted paper, and mixed media.

Size: All art must be created in 8.5″ x 11″ format, including matte, to be eligible.


All state award winners will be notified and sent to NCDA by Feb. 20, 2019

The winning entries for each division will be recognized on the NCDA website in May 2019 and displayed at the Annual Global Career Development Conference in June. National winners will also receive a special certificate and a congratulatory gift from the NCDA


Please submit any entries to by January 14, 2019

Submissions may also be sent by mail to:

Kansas Department of Commerce, Poetry and Art Contest

1000 SW Jackson St., Suite 100, Topeka, Kansas 66612


Obituary of Deborah Underwood

Deborah Louise Underwood, age 65, a resident of Ft. Scott, Kansas, passed away Tuesday, December 4, 2018, at her home.

She was born September 5, 1953, in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Ezequiel Santana and Esther Rebecca Mark Santana.

She married Steven Underwood on October 2, 1971, in Lebanon.  Deborah had worked the majority of her life in food service.  She had managed restaurants throughout the United States and had most recently been employed by G & W Foods in Ft. Scott.  She enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Survivors include her two daughters, Stephanie Kaylor and her husband, Matthew, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania and Jennifer Kitch and her husband, Robert, of Branson, Missouri; six grandchildren, Zachery and Samuel Kaylor and Rebecca, Jessica, Austin and Chase Kitch and five great-grandchildren, Elija, Ryan, Isiah, Aniston and Evelyn.  Also surviving is her brother, David Santana, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

Her husband, Steven, preceded her in death on December 28, 2013.  She was also preceded in death by her parents.

Rev. Chuck Russell will conduct funeral services at 10:00 A.M. Monday, December 10th at the Cheney Witt Chapel.

Burial will follow in the U. S. National Cemetery.

Memorials are suggested to the Deborah Underwood Memorial Fund and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Ft. Scott, KS 66701.  Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Dr. Larry Seals Earns Fourth Five-Star Excellence Award

For the fourth consecutive year, Trina Arndt, RN; Dr. Larry Seals, OBGYN; and Crystal Roberts, RN; rank in the nation’s top 10 percent through patient surveys by PRC.

Patient satisfaction scores rank him/team in the nation’s top 10 percent

 Forget about a three-peat: Dr. Larry Seals and his team take it another level.

For the fourth consecutive year, Seals and the Mercy Clinic Fort Scott OB/GYN team have earned the Professional Research Consultants, Inc. (PRC) Five-Star Excellence Award for Provider Services and Overall Care.

Once again, Seals has been recognized for scoring in the top 10 percent nationally for “excellent” responses in patient satisfaction surveys.

Like a legendary sports teams, consecutive awards take commitment and hard work. Going into his 32nd years in practice – and thousands and thousands of beautiful babies delivered in his hands – Seals gives all the credit to teamwork.

I’m happy because my nursing staff does a great job of treating patients with superb clinical skill and unmatched compassion,” Seals said.

Seals attributes his practice’s success to putting patients first.

When precious life in your hands, it’s important to empathize and share genuine care for everyone,” he added. “Every day we give our best to those who trust us for excellent medical care and understanding.”


Funds Still Available to Assist with Mammogram Costs

Patients who cannot afford a mammogram because they are uninsured or underinsured will benefit from a $3,000 donation from Mercy Health Foundation Fort Scott.

Between now and Dec. 31, 2018, patients who are due for a mammogram and have not received the screening are encouraged to take advantage of this offer at Mercy Hospital Fort Scott. Funds donated by Mercy Health Foundation are used to provide mammograms and breast imaging for patients who meet certain criteria such as those not insured, or insured but their coverage does not include mammograms.

Funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information about digital mammography or to schedule a mammography appointment online, visit or call Mercy’s Imagining Services at 620-223-7015.


Mercy Health Foundation—Fort Scott, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, raises money and community awareness for Mercy Hospital. It is dependent on the support of individuals, corporations and foundations to help Mercy meet community health care needs. Mercy Health Foundation invests its philanthropic support in facilities and the advancement of technologies and programs to enhance Mercy’s ability to provide excellence in health care. For more information, visit