Moffat County, Craig show growth in population |

Moffat County, Craig show growth in population

Brian Smith

The U.S. Census Bureau released 2009 population estimates Tuesday, which indicated both Moffat County and Craig have grown in population in the last year.

Moffat County was estimated to have 13,980 residents in 2009, up from 13,822 residents last year.

The 158 additional county residents represented a 1.1-percent increase in population. Moffat County ranks 28th in growth among the 64 counties in Colorado.

Colorado grew by 89,000 residents, or 1.8 percent, in population from 2008 to 2009. In 2009, 5,024,748 people were estimated to live in the state.

Craig showed growth during 2009, adding 81 new residents, or a .8-percent change. The city ranked 137th in the state in growth among the 270 cities counted by the Census.

In 2009, 9,301 residents were estimated to live in Craig, up from 9,220 last year.

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Annual population estimations are based on the 2000 Census.

State demographer Elizabeth Garner said birth and death records, as well as migration indicators, are used to calculate population estimates.

The Census Bureau can determine resident migration based on Internal Revenue Service tax filings and Medicare applications.

The population estimates take into account permanent residents of the county, Garner said.

"So, if you've got any folks up there that might be in the oil and gas (industry) that might be temporary, or on four weeks and off four weeks, and they're based in Texas or Louisiana, they may not be picked up," Garner said.

Garner said employment estimations are important because many government functions are based on population data.

"There are a lot of programs that are based on estimations for local planning to understand if places are growing or shrinking," she said.

The population estimations can also be used for economic indicators or predictors, Garner said.

"Typically, population change lags economic change," she said. "So far, that has kind of held true that we've still had some pretty positive population growth even though we have had some significant downturns in the economy," she said.

The nation as a whole can expect to see a slower rate of population due to the economic downturn, Garner said.

Moffat County's growth is "not bad" compared to other parts of the state, Garner said.

"There are definitely parts of the state that are declining," she said. "The eastern plains, there are some areas on the Western Slope that are declining as well. So holding your own isn't bad, especially considering your size."

The 2000 Census indicated Moffat County had 13,184 residents. Males represented 51.9 percent of the population and females 48.1 percent.

The median age in the county in 2000 was 35.4 years old. Residents over 18 represented 71.5 percent of the population and residents over 65 represented 9.4 percent.

White residents represented 93.6 percent of the county's population in 2000.

Figures from the 2010 Census, which is ongoing, will be released at the beginning of next year, Garner said.

Census workers are currently in the process of going door-to-door to survey residents who did not mail in their forms.

Moffat County ranked the highest in Census participation among Northwest Colorado counties with a 63-percent participation rate, according to the Census.

Routt County had a 43-percent participation rate, while Rio Blanco had 55 percent.

The national participation rate is 72 percent, the same it was in 2000.

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