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Tuolumne County In Need Of Growth

As we explored the demographics of Tuolumne County in my February 2014 blog, I wanted to continue to dig deeper into those numbers this month.

Understanding the components of change is even more important than just looking at the whole number when planning for economic development.

If you look at the available data from just the last ten years, you will find some telling signs of what is causing our population to decline.

Numeric

Natural

Net

Foreign

Domestic

Change

Births

Deaths

Increase

Migration

Immigration

Migration

2003

532

466

-602

-136

668

11

657

2004

-73

462

-624

-162

89

27

62

2005

83

491

-586

-95

178

46

132

2006

106

457

-578

-121

227

36

191

2007

-425

474

-622

-148

-277

36

-313

2008

-73

495

-608

-113

40

27

13

2009

-802

462

-564

-102

-700

25

-725

2010

-297

441

-565

-124

-173

22

-195

2011

-90

442

-602

-160

70

11

59

2012

-956

467

-619

-152

-804

11

-815

2013

177

462

-599

-137

314

26

288

 

The natural rate of change over the past ten years is negative (more deaths than births) which shows that the majority of our population is weighted towards individuals who are seniors and less of our population is made up by individuals of child bearing age. This is happening primarily because of a normal and national demographic shift of the baby boom generation that is moving into their retirement years and many younger generations (Millennials and Gen X’ers) having less or no children.

These numbers are also affected with the ebb and flows within industries such as construction, logging, mining and other “heavy” industries that tend to have employees that have larger families as compared to other base industry jobs.

Migration in and out of a county can occur for several reasons. People may migrate either in or out of Tuolumne County due to employment opportunities, housing prices, and quality of life. You can see that migration out of the county has increased significantly in recent years due to the lagging local and national economy.

The overall trend in the decreasing population since 2003 has been mostly caused by the natural rate of change (more deaths than births) a 1,450 person loss as compared to net migration of a 368 person loss.

This means that not only jobs and businesses need to be created to attract more individuals and families to Tuolumne County, but we must also increase it to a level that exceeds our “natural” rate of change plus our current “outward bound” net migration.