2011-03-24 / Front Page

Fulton County’s Population Growth Exceeds State Rate

County grows 4.1 percent from 2000-2010

Fulton County’s population growth from the 2000 decennial census through the 2010 Census grew by 4.1 percent, a rate higher than the state’s growth rate of 3.4 percent, according to U.S. Census data released last week.

During the 10-year period, the county’s population increased from 14,261 in 2000 to 14,845 in 2010. All but five of the county’s 13 municipalities gained population. Only Ayr, Dublin, Taylor, Wells and Valley-Hi Borough lost population during the decennial period. Townships experiencing the largest rate of growth were Brush Creek, Licking Creek and Union, all posting double-digit growth. The borough of Mc- Connellsburg also grew by 13.7 percent during the period.

Fulton County’s modest increase in population was enough to rank it as the 26th highest (out of 67 counties) in the state in terms of population increase. Counties losing the most in population were Cameron, Elk and Fayette counties.

Franklin County experienced a huge population growth during the 10-year period and only Forest, Pike and Monroe counties exceeded that growth.

Fulton County also experienced a 4.9 percent increase in housing units from 2000-2010, with 6,790 units reported in 2000 and 7,122 in 2010.

Bedford County’s population decreased during the period by about four-tenths of a percentage point while Huntingdon County’s increased by seventenths of a percentage point.

Fulton County’s under age 18 decennial population decreased by 2.2 percent. In 2010, the county had 3,431 persons under the age of 18 residing in the county.

According to information released by the Penn State Data Center last week, the commonwealth’s population as of April 1, 2010, was 12,702,379. Pennsylvania’s population increased 3.4 percent (421,325 total persons) since the last decennial census (April 1, 2000). The commonwealth’s population remains the sixth largest in the nation, but is set to lose one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives because of larger population gains in other states.

Philadelphia County realized an increase in population the first time since the 1950 Census. Philadelphia (1,526,066), Allegheny (1,223,348), and Montgomery (799,874) remain Pennsylvania’s most populous counties. Together, these three counties make up more than one-quarter (27.9 percent) of the state’s total population. Cameron (5,085), Sullivan (6,428) and Forest (7,716) have the smallest populations.

Population growth for the counties varied over the decade. Forest County had the largest percent population increase (56.0 percent) due in large part to the construction of a state correctional institution in 2004. Other than Forest County, Pike County led all Pennsylvania counties in population percent increase from 2000 to 2010, increasing by 23.9 percent. Monroe (22.5 percent), Franklin (15.7 percent), Chester (15.1 percent, and York (13.9 percent) counties followed in terms of largest percent change in population for the decade. In general, population growth is concentrated in the eastern, southcentral and south eastern counties.

Counties with the highest percent population loss over the last decade were concentrated in the western and north-central part of the state. Twenty-eight counties experienced population loss during this period, led by Cameron (-14.9 percent), Elk (- 9.0 percent) and Fayette (8.1 percent) counties. Allegheny County (-4.6 percent) also experienced population loss.

According to the data center, Pennsylvania’s racial and ethnic composition is growing more diverse. The minority population in Pennsylvania increased 33.1 percent since the 2000 Census to a total of 2,607,727 people. Minority is defined as anyone who indicated that they were either Hispanic or a race other than white alone. The fastest-growing minority population group in Pennsylvania over the last decade was in the Hispanic population (82.6 percent), followed by those classified as multi race (67.2 percent), Some Other Race (59.7 percent), Asian (58.8 percent) and American Indian and Alaska Native (46.3 percent). The Black or African-American population increased by 12.5 percent since 2000. Meanwhile, between 2000 and 2010, the non-Hispanic White population declined by 0.7 percent. Note: All of the race data is for non-Hispanics.

Other highlights of the data released included: The number of housing units in Pennsylvania increased from 5,249,750 in 2000 to 5,567,315 in 2010, a 6.0 percent increase. Among counties, Centre County (19.1 percent) had the largest percent increase in housing units during the last decade. Of the commonwealth’s 5,567,315 housing units, 9.9 percent were vacant in 2010. Forest County (71.3 percent) had the largest proportion of vacant housing units in the state, while Bucks County (4.5 percent) had the smallest; and the proportion of the population 18 years and older in Pennsylvania increased from 76.2 percent to 78.0 between 2000 and 2010.

The data for Pennsylvania released last week comes from the 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171). It is the first set of population data available from the 2010 Census for Pennsylvania counties, municipalities and other geographies down to the census block level. These local level census data are used by state officials to realign congressional and state legislative districts in Pennsylvania.

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