This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

More Stories Emerging From the 2010 Census Numbers

There are lots of stories hiding in the 2010 Census numbers, and the New York Times and other news agencies are doing a good job of telling them. One such tale relates to Nevada, which was the fastest growing state (in percentage terms) between 2000 and 2010, even though the state's population grew in absolute terms only from 2 million to 2.7 million. Still, that was enough to allow Nevada to add another seat in Congress (probably at Michigan's expense). The issue is that even as the census was being taken, the state was already losing some of that population! The growth in Nevada had been fueled especially, if not mainly, by the speculative housing market. The bursting of that bubble also blew the lid on population increase.

The state demographer, Jeff Hardcastle, estimated that Nevada had lost more than 90,000 people since July 2008, and expects the decline to continue through next year. He said that before 2007, Nevada had been the top-growing state for most of the past 20 years.
People are leaving in search of more prosperous economic climates. But analysts said the state’s population had been hurt by a declining birthrate, not uncommon during tough economic times, and illegal immigrants leaving, or at least avoiding census takers as public attitudes toward them turned harsh.
Stephen P.A. Brown, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at U.N.L.V., said any future growth in population was directly related to the state’s ability to rebuild its economy — and, of course, an influx of more people who would contribute to the state’s economic growth. “There is no indication that people are moving back into the state at this point,” he said.

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