Monday, April 4, 2016

How many people are living in your county?

The U.S. Census Bureau releases 2015 county population estimates


By Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist 

“They say there are 7 billion people on earth. I don't know what accountant came up with that number, but in my humble opinion, they might have been off by at least a dozen. You see, me and my friends were hiding during the count.” Jarod Kintz 

Although the United States government only counts the population once a decade, the U.S. Census Bureau provides local-level population estimates on an annual basis. These estimates are derived from a variety of data sources such as vital statistics (birth and death counts) and Internal Revenue Service administrative data. While the Census Bureau released statewide population estimates several months ago, county-level figures have just hit the streets. In the visualization below, you can access those figures back through 2010.


Here’s a few nuggets from the 2015 estimates:

  • Wasatch County showed the fastest population growth in Utah at 5.0 percent. 
  • Among the largest counties, Washington County produced the fastest expansion (2.5 percent) with Utah County close on its heels with a 2.4-percent gain. 
  • Utah County showed the highest net migration in Utah (the difference between people moving in and people moving out) with a gain of more than 3,500. 
  • Washington County’s net migration (2,900) registered higher than much-larger Salt Lake County’s figure (2,700). 
  • According to the estimates, eight Utah counties experienced net out-migration; Emery, Carbon and Beaver counties showed the heaviest losses. 
  • Many counties experiencing net out-migration also saw their total population counts decline. Beaver, Emery and Kane counties displayed the largest percent-change drops. 
  • All Utah counties showed positive natural increase (more births than deaths). 
  • Reflecting an older population, Washington County showed fewer births than less-populated Cache County. 
  • Utah County added more than 13,600 residents in 2015, compared to Salt Lake County’s 14,400-person increase. However, Salt Lake County’s population is almost double that of Utah County. 
  • Utah’s most-populated counties hung on to their total population rankings. However, fast-growing Wasatch, Duchesne, Morgan and Juab counties moved up at least a position; while Emery, Sanpete and Carbon counties took a step back.

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