Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Population Growth Slows

We're still growing faster than most other parts of the state, but the increase is smaller than in past years. The Sun quotes a county planner speculating that many people are now looking for more affordable housing outside the county. Howard's population totaled 274,995 as of July 1, 2008, according to the county's latest estimate.

In 1969, two years after Columbia's first houses were built, only 60,092 people lived in Howard County, just over one-fifth of the current population. On average, the county grew by 4 percent a year, though that rate declined this decade to an average of 1.38 percent. Over the past five years, the average dropped even more, to 1 percent.

Peak one-year growth occurred in 1990, when population rose by 9,719 people. The smallest population growth occurred in 2005, when just 2,218 new residents arrived. The year from 2004 to 2005 also represents the smallest percentage growth at only 0.84 percent. The rate fell below 2 percent for the first time in the year from 2001 to 2002, when it was 1.6 percent.

It'll be interesting to see what the numbers look like after 2008, given the turmoil in the mortgage markets and the economy in general.

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