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Census confirms county growth over past decade

Preliminary data from the U.S. Census Bureau has been released, indicating a changing face of Archuleta County and Pagosa Springs compared to numbers from the 2000 census.

Clearly, more people have moved to the area over the past 10 years: in 2000, the population of Archuleta County was 9,898, but grew by 22.09 percent to a total of 12,084 in 2010.

The town also saw some growth (but not nearly as much as the county), growing by 8.55 percent over the past 10 years to a population of 1,727, up from 1,591 in 2000.

For both the town and the county, that population has aged: in 2000, residents age 18 and over accounted for 75 percent of the total population in the county, but grew to account for 80 percent of the county’s population in 2010. Likewise, while residents 18 and over accounted for 72 percent of the town’s residents in 2000, the town had 77 percent of its residents in that age group by 2010.

The population of the county has become more racially diversified during the last 10 years. In 2000, Whites accounted for 88.3 percent of the population, but composed 78.17 percent of the population in 2010. Hispanics saw a slight increase during the past 10 years, accounting for almost 18 percent of county residents in 2010, up from 16.8 percent in 2000 (but down from over 23 percent in the 1990 census).

While the county’s Native American population held steady as a percentage of residents (1.4 percent) and the percentage of African Americans dropped slightly (from .4 percent to .3 percent), the percentage of Asians rose from .3 percent to .7 percent.

The town is more racially diverse than the county, although less so than in 2000. Ten years ago, Whites accounted for 50 percent of the residents in town, growing to 54 percent in 2010, while Hispanics went to representing 43 percent of the population in town to 41 percent in 2010. All other racial groups also saw slight decreases in population representation in Pagosa Springs from 2000 to 2010.

Finally, in order to house all the new folks choosing to reside in Pagosa Country, the town added 199 new homes between 2000 and 2010, up 26.7 percent. Although it should come as no surprise to anyone (due to the building boom during the last decade), the county added 2,550 housing units from 2000, from 6,212 to 8,762 in 2010, an astounding increase of 41 percent.

While some local residents might say that nothing changes in Pagosa Country, clearly the census shows that the area has changed — in some ways, substantially.

Unfortunately, a completely accurate picture of how we live and who we are is impossible to determine, largely due to inadequate participation in the 2010 census. The Pagosa Springs participation/response rate was 41 percent last year, down from 52 percent in 2000, while the Archuleta County participation/response rate was 43 percent, slightly down from 44 percent in 2000.

The U.S. Census Bureau will release more data regarding the town and county later this spring. The SUN will publish some of those findings as the data becomes available.

jim@pagosasun.com

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