Census Bureau Releases Population Changes, Projections

pop-growth-1024x688JEFFERSON CO., Pa. (EYT) – There were few surprises in population estimates released recently by the U.S. Census Bureau. As expected, the population estimates for 2015 and projected from the 2000 Census show population decreases for all area counties, including Clarion, Clearfield, Forest, Jefferson, and Venango.

While the current population estimates are showing decreases, projections until 2040 show more of the same but a possibility for a small population growth in some of the area counties.

According to July 1, 2015 population projections in a research brief issued by the Pennsylvania State Data Center, the following population changes since 2010 were reported:

• Clarion County went from 39,989 to 39,441, a drop of 491 (1.2 percent)

• Clearfield went from 81,644 to 80,994, a drop of 550 (.8 percent)

• Forest County went from 7,716 to 7,410, a drop of 308 (4 percent)

• Jefferson County went from 45,199 to 44,430, a drop of 789 (1.7 percent)

• Venango County went from 54,983 to 53,119, a drop of 1,854 (4.4 percent)

Estimates for 2020 and 2030 project the following:

• Clarion County, decreases of 7.3 and 9.3 percent

• Clearfield County, decreases of 2.3 and 4.2 percent

• Forest, increases of 53.2 and 61.7 percent

• Jefferson, decreases of 4.7 and 7.4 percent

• Venango, decreases of 82 percent and 128 percent

Population growth by county for 2040 suggests possible growth in most of the area counties, but also leaves the possibility for additional decreases:

• Clarion County, minus 5 percent to plus five percent

• Clearfield County, minus 5 percent to plus five percent

• Forest, under five percent

• Jefferson, minus 5 percent to plus five percent

• Venango, minus 5 percent to plus five percent

Research and projection details

The county level total population estimates show the estimated total population for all counties in the United States. The estimates are calculated using administrative records to estimate components of population change, such as births best domestic and international migration. The estimates reflect the changes to the 2010 Census population resulting from a legal boundary updates as of January 1 of the estimates year, other geographic program changes, and Count Question Resolution (CQR) actions.

Over all, 43 counties experienced population lost during the period. Eight of the top 10 counties in percent population growth from 2010 to 2015 were located in the southeastern or south central Pennsylvania. In contrast, counties in the top 10 percent population loss over the 2010-2015 time period were concentrated in the northern and western parts of the state. Among these, Cameron (-6.9 percent), Cambria (-5.1 percent), Forest (-4.0 percent), Susquehanna (-3.9 percent), and Warren (-3.4 percent) counties experienced the largest percent population loss.

Almost two-thirds (64.3 percent) of the twenty-eight counties in the state to experience a population loss of greater than 1,000 residents from 2010 to 2015 were located in western Pennsylvania.

During that time period, Cambria County (-7,263) had the largest estimated population decrease, followed by Westmoreland County (-7,213).

Two eastern Pennsylvania counties ranked in the top five in terms of population loss: Schuylkill County which ranked third with a decline of 3,699 residents and Monroe County which ranked fourth due to a decrease of 3,445 persons. Lawrence County, in western Pennsylvania, had the fifth highest decline with 3,058 residents lost.

Births, Deaths and Migration in the Commonwealth

There were an estimated 746,467 births in Pennsylvania between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2015, and an estimated 671,050 deaths also occurred during this time period resulting in a natural increase of 75,417 persons. During the time period, international migration into Pennsylvania outpaced domestic outmigration, resulting in a net gain of 64,804 persons.

From April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2015, Philadelphia (43,750), Lancaster (12,627), Chester (9,385) and Montgomery (8,574) had the greatest natural increase among Pennsylvania counties, while Westmoreland (-6,259), Luzerne (-4,304), Schuylkill (-2,793) and Schuylkill (-2,554) had the lowest.

The largest net migration occurred in the counties of Allegheny (11,571), Montgomery (10,846), and Cumberland (8,830). Monroe County, which in previous decades experienced large population gains because of high migration rates from neighboring states, has lost 3,585 residents to outmigration. This decline due to migration was the third largest of any Pennsylvania county between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2015. Cambria County had the greatest loss (-4,651) and Erie County had the second-highest loss due to outmigration (-4,356) during this time.


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