ADDISON COUNTY — With the first official U.S. Census data out showing Vermont’s population grew just 2.8 percent in the past decade, estimates from 2009 indicate the next batch of information to be released within the next two months may show that Addison County’s growth may have been even slower.
The Census pegged Vermont’s population as of April 1 as 625,741, up from 608,827 in 2000, the last time a full national count was completed.
Vermont will remain second smallest state behind Wyoming (563,626), and stands 44th among the states in rate of growth in the past decade.
Vermont’s 2.8 percent growth rate since 2000 was the state’s lowest since the Great Depression years between 1930 and 1940, which saw Vermont’s population drop, according to a Dec. 21 Census press release.
Between 1990 and 2000 Vermont’s population increased by 8.2 percent, and the state’s average growth rate for the decades between 1960 and 1990 was 14.8 percent.
Census officials speculated in their press release that, “It is likely that the state-to-state migration that has been adding noticeably to Vermont’s population since 1960 is beginning to ebb.”
Official county and municipal numbers will not be available until February or March. However, in between the official numbers they compile every 10 years, Census officials also make annual unofficial town and county estimates they say are based on “building permits, mobile home shipments, and estimates of housing unit loss.”
According to those estimates, Addison County’s population grew by just 2.2 percent between April 2000 and July 2009, from 35,974 to 36,760.
Town-by-town, the Census estimated that six communities might have lost population, ranging from just a handful of residents in Weybridge (five) to almost five-dozen in Vergennes (71).
Bristol may have also dropped a few residents (21), while the easternmost trio of Goshen (12), Granville (19 and Hancock (19) took the biggest hits considering percentages of their populations.
Bridport (1,235) was estimated to be level, and the other 16 county towns were estimated as of mid-2009 to have gained from a range of marginally (Waltham by 1 to 480) to substantially — Monkton, by 217 to 1,976, and New Haven, by 160 to 1,826, leading the pack.
In percentage terms, the next biggest gainers, again according to the 18-month-old Census estimates, were Whiting (28 residents, or 7.3 percent, to 408), Cornwall (77 residents, or 6.7 percent, to 1,213) and Shoreham (80 residents, or 6.5 percent, to 1,302).
Surprisingly, Ferrisburgh, typically a strong real estate market on the border of Chittenden County, was estimated to have grown by only 26 residents to 2,677 in the past decade, less than 1 percent. The estimate for Starksboro, also bordering Chittenden County, was 2.4 percent growth to 1,944.
According to the estimates, Middlebury grew by 109 residents to 8,292, or 1.3 percent, while Brandon lost 55 residents and stood at 3,862 as of mid-2009.
Nationally, the Census pegged the U.S. population at 308,745,538, an increase of 9.7 percent over the 2000 population of 281,421,906. Most of that increase came in the warm-weather states. Michigan was the only state that lost population, and Nevada, at 35 percent, was the fastest-growing state.
States that grew in population will gain seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Texas will gain four seats, Florida will gain two, and Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington will receive one additional seat apiece.
Conversely, Ohio and New York will lose two seats, and Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania will lose one seat apiece. Nationwide re-apportionment should take effect in Congress in 2013.
In counting population for determining representation in Congress, the Census also looks at state residents serving abroad in the military. Vermont's population including those serving overseas is 630,337.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected]