Census Report Released; Better News Than Expected
The U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday released its official 2010 figures for all of Pennsylvania, complete with not only the traditional head count, but also a demographic profile. The numbers are voluminous and are now being analyzed by public officials. Of particular note is the fact that Potter County’s official population decrease was much more modest than expected.
The 2010 figure is 17,457, compared to 18,080 in 2000. As recently as 2008, the Census Bureau’s unofficial interim report showed a population of just over 16,700. Evidently, Potter County’s population rose in the first three years of the new century, but then began to fall. Toward the end of the decade, the trend reversed itself and the population was on the rise. There were an estimated 18,300 county residents in 2002, a modern-day high. That’s when Adelphia Communications Corp. declared bankruptcy and many families moved out.
There will be follow-up reports on the raw numbers in the coming weeks. Two interesting trends have already been discerned:
- the population in Potter County is aging;
- the number of people dying regularly exceeds the number being born.
Economic implications can also be measured, to some extent. The Census Bureau estimates that for every individual counted, a county receives roughly $10,000 in federal and state funds through more than 50 grant programs, including support for education, transportation, health and human services, housing, criminal justice, employment services, farming and environmental protection.
The U.S. Census Bureau recently honored the Potter County Board of Commissioners and the Potter County Planning Department as 2010 Census Partners, participating in activities or events that emphasized the importance of an accurate population count. These included public education work, providing space for census employee training, and sponsoring census seminars for the public.