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Counties with the fastest-falling population in every state

  • Counties with the fastest-falling population in every state

    For decades, America has seen a decline in native-born births. Current population projections aren’t enough to compensate for the accelerated mortality curve that will occur with the passing of the Baby Boomers. In many communities throughout the United States, the number of deaths exceeds the number of births as the large Baby Boomer generation has moved past childbearing age and is coming into old age. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that by 2035, the nation, like many other countries, will have more senior citizens than kids.

    Foreign births have substituted for native-born births deficiencies for many years now with immigration helping to counter those statistics. But recent crackdowns on immigration and longer lifespans mean that for many communities, there will soon not be enough residents of childbearing age to replenish the workforce. These areas in the U.S. report either a stalled population growth rate or shrinking population and an overall increase in the average age of their residents. This leads to a reduced workforce which in turn drives down tax revenues that reduce local and state governments’ abilities to reinvest in communities and encourage migration. These factors further reduce the workforce.

    Vulnerable communities—primarily in the Northeast and the Midwest—will face steep population declines unless corrective action can be taken.

    To better understand this, Stacker looked at data from the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey for 2013 and 2017. Compiling the worst rates of population growth for the 50 states, we have prepared a list of the counties with the fasting-falling populations. For this list, we considered counties and county-equivalents. For each state, we will present the county with the worst percentage of growth from 2013 to 2017. We ordered the list alphabetically by state name.

    As times change, a community’s appeal can change, too. While it can be the closing of an industry that drives workers away, other factors can make an area less attractive, as well. For example, a community that relies heavily on a single employer, like a military base, will offer few high paying private-sector jobs for those that have the education and experience. If an area is not drawing high-income workers, it may not have amenities that would be expected in more developed areas, like gyms, coffee shops, parks, quality schools, and conveniently placed stores. These factors may make the choice between staying local and moving to a bigger market a painful but necessary choice.

    Keep reading to see how your state’s population stacks up against the rest of the nation.

    You may also like: Most rural counties in America

  • Alabama: Walker County

    - Total population in 2013: 65,998
    --- Racial and ethnic breakdowns not available for this year
    - Total population in 2017: 64,058 (Five-year percent change: -2.94%)
    --- White: 88.9%; Black or African American: 5.9%; Hispanic or Latino: 2.6%; Asian: 0.6%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.2%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0%; Some other race: 0%; Two or more races: 1.9%
    - Median age in 2017: 43.2 (up 1.6 years since 2013)

    Walker County is a northwestern suburb county of Birmingham. The county seat is Jasper, which was once the world’s leading producer of coal. The collapse of the American coal industry has reversed the consistent trend of population growth the county has experienced since its founding.

  • Alaska: Anchorage Municipality

    - Total population in 2013: 300,950
    --- White: 60.4%; Black or African American: 5.8%; Hispanic or Latino: 8.6%; Asian: 8.2%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 7.1%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 2.3%; Some other race: 0%; Two or more races: 7.6%
    - Total population in 2017: 294,356 (Five-year percent change: -2.19%)
    --- White: 57.6%; Black or African American: 4.8%; Hispanic or Latino: 9.2%; Asian: 10.6%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 6.8%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 2.6%; Some other race: 0.3%; Two or more races: 8%
    - Median age in 2017: 34 (up 1.6 years since 2013)

    Like the largest growing counties, there are trends in the counties whose populations have shrunk the most. These are counties that are the population center of their states, have industrial or commercial bases that significantly shrunk in recent decades, or counties whose economy depends on a single factor – like a military installation. Anchorage Municipality, as the most populous borough in Alaska, fits this pattern. The city holds over 40% of the state’s population. With neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough the state’s fastest-growing county, Anchorage is amid a population transition to the suburbs.

     

  • Arizona: Cochise County

    - Total population in 2013: 129,473
    --- White: 56.8%; Black or African American: 3.9%; Hispanic or Latino: 33.9%; Asian: 1.7%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.8%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0%; Some other race: 0%; Two or more races: 2.9%
    - Total population in 2017: 124,756 (Five-year percent change: -3.64%)
    --- White: 55%; Black or African American: 3.7%; Hispanic or Latino: 35.6%; Asian: 1.8%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 1.4%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.4%; Some other race: 0.2%; Two or more races: 1.9%
    - Median age in 2017: 41.6 (up 1.3 years since 2013)

    Cochise County is Arizona’s southeastern-most county. Its county seat is Bisbee. A mining county, the county’s economy has been historically tied to its copper and gold extraction operations. Today, Cochise County is largely considered a picturesque tourist destination and exurb of Tucson.

     

  • Arkansas: Jefferson County

    - Total population in 2013: 73,191
    --- White: 40.5%; Black or African American: 56.8%; Hispanic or Latino: 1.8%; Asian: 0.3%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.1%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0%; Some other race: 0%; Two or more races: 0.6%
    - Total population in 2017: 69,115 (Five-year percent change: -5.57%)
    --- Racial and ethnic breakdowns not available for this year
    - Median age in 2017: 38.8 (down 0.6 years since 2013)

    Jefferson County is a centrally located county in Arkansas, on the Arkansas River. Its county seat is Pine Bluff. A suburb county to Little Rock, Jefferson County is largely agricultural, with limited manufacturing. Pine Bluff was named to USA Today’s 2018 list of America’s Poorest Cities as the seventh-poorest city in the nation.

     

  • California: Napa County

    - Total population in 2013: 140,326
    --- White: 54.5%; Black or African American: 2.1%; Hispanic or Latino: 33.4%; Asian: 7.4%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.5%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0%; Some other race: 0%; Two or more races: 2.1%
    - Total population in 2017: 140,973 (Five-year percent change: 0.46%)
    --- White: 52.3%; Black or African American: 2.2%; Hispanic or Latino: 34.3%; Asian: 8%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.3%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.3%; Some other race: 0.1%; Two or more races: 2.7%
    - Median age in 2017: 41.4 (up 1.1 years since 2013)

    Napa County is an interesting case. A largely agricultural region, the county has grown famous because of its wines, and as a result, Napa County has some of the most expensive and sought-after properties in the San Francisco Bay Area. Droughts, however, have affected Napa’s productivity. This, coupled with Napa’s high home costs, has made Napa County one of the few areas in the San Francisco area to see a population drop.

     

  • Colorado: Mesa County

    - Total population in 2013: 147,554
    --- White: 82.0%; Black or African American: 0.9%; Hispanic or Latino: 13.8%; Asian: 0.5%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.6%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0%; Some other race: 0.4%; Two or more races: 1.9%
    - Total population in 2017: 151,616 (Five-year percent change: 2.75%)
    --- White: 81.2%; Black or African American: 0.7%; Hispanic or Latino: 14.6%; Asian: 1.2%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.5%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.4%; Some other race: 0.1%; Two or more races: 1.2%
    - Median age in 2017: 39 (down 0.3 years since 2013)

    Mesa County sits on Colorado’s western border with Utah. Its county seat is Grand Junction. Removed from Colorado’s eastern Front Range, the county is separated from the state’s population explosion by the Rocky Mountains. Grand Junction is the largest city in western Colorado. The draw of jobs and better opportunities in Denver, Boulder, and other Front Range cities, however, is causing a population bleed-off for communities in the state’s wings.

     

  • Connecticut: Litchfield County

    - Total population in 2013: 186,924
    --- White: 90.2%; Black or African American: 1.6%; Hispanic or Latino: 5.2%; Asian: 2%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0%; Some other race: 0.1%; Two or more races: 1%
    - Total population in 2017: 182,177 (Five-year percent change: -2.54%)
    --- White: 88.2%; Black or African American: 2%; Hispanic or Latino: 6.3%; Asian: 1.9%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.2%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0%; Some other race: 0.3%; Two or more races: 1.1%
    - Median age in 2017: 47.3 (up 1.6 years since 2013)

    Litchfield County is Connecticut’s northeastern-most county, and the state’s largest county. As a non-administrative county division, there is no county seat. Like neighboring Berkshire County, Massachusetts’ fastest-shrinking county, Litchfield County has a largely older population that is dying off faster than it can be replaced. With many jobs being shuttled off to other locations, Litchfield can face the same fate Upstate New York, western Massachusetts, Vermont, and eastern New Hampshire are all enduring.

  • Delaware: New Castle County

    - Total population in 2013: 549,684
    --- White: 59.9%; Black or African American: 23.5%; Hispanic or Latino: 9.2%; Asian: 4.9%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.2%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0%; Some other race: 0.3%; Two or more races: 2%
    - Total population in 2017: 559,793 (Five-year percent change: 1.84%)
    --- White: 57.2%; Black or African American: 24.4%; Hispanic or Latino: 10%; Asian: 5.8%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.2%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0%; Some other race: 0.2%; Two or more races: 2.2%
    - Median age in 2017: 38.1 (up 0.8 years since 2013)

    New Castle County is the northernmost of Delaware’s counties. It is the home of the state's largest city Wilmington and around 60% of the state’s population. Holding most of the state’s industry and commerce, the county—effectively, a suburb of Philadelphia—is the heart of the state. However, with the growth of Sussex County, New Castle County has seen some population migration.

  • Florida: Monroe County

    - Total population in 2013: 76,351
    --- White: 69.0%; Black or African American: 5.3%; Hispanic or Latino: 21.7%; Asian: 1.6%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0%; Some other race: 0.1%; Two or more races: 2.4%
    - Total population in 2017: 77,013 (Five-year percent change: 0.87%)
    --- White: 66.1%; Black or African American: 6.5%; Hispanic or Latino: 24.5%; Asian: 1.5%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.1%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0%; Some other race: 0.2%; Two or more races: 1%
    - Median age in 2017: 47.1 (down 1.1 years since 2013)

    Monroe County is the southernmost county in Florida. Comprising the Florida Keys and the Everglades, most of the county’s residents live on the islands dotting the tip of the state. This leads to a monolithic economy, where forestry makes up over half of the county’s jobs. The rise in hurricanes and a collapse in tourism have made this “paradise” less attractive for many people.

     

  • Georgia: Muscogee County

    - Total population in 2013: 202,824
    --- White: 42.3%; Black or African American: 44.7%; Hispanic or Latino: 7.3%; Asian: 2.1%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.2%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0%; Some other race: 0.7%; Two or more races: 2.7%
    - Total population in 2017: 194,058 (Five-year percent change: -4.32%)
    --- White: 39.9%; Black or African American: 45.8%; Hispanic or Latino: 7.6%; Asian: 2.5%; American Indian or Alaska Native: 0.1%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.1%; Some other race: 0.2%; Two or more races: 3.9%
    - Median age in 2017: 34.4 (up 1.0 years since 2013)

    Muscogee County is a county on the Georgia-Alabama border. The county’s sole city is Columbus, whose government merged with the county government in 1971. Muscogee County is the host of U.S. Army installation Fort Benning, which takes up a quarter of the county’s physical space and is the area's largest employer.

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