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Census: Is Pagosa an ‘old’ community?

According to data released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau, results from the 2010 shows that the U.S. population is getting older while the same data shows that Hispanics are, by far, the fastest growing racial group in the country.

Following the national trend, Archuleta County saw its population aging while also showing an increase in Hispanic residents that outpaced all other racial groups.

According to last week’s report, the median age of U.S. residents in 2010 increased to 37.2 from 35.3 in 2000, while in the county the median age increased from 40.8 in 2000 to 48.4 in 2010.

Due to the aging of the baby boom population, stabilizing birth rates and longer life expectancy, the proportion of older Americans increased during the last decade nationwide, although the 1.9-year increase between 2000 and 2010 was a more modest increase than the 2.4-year increase in median age that occurred between 1990 and 2000.

While Archuleta County showed a population older than the national median age of 37.2, the data showed that Colorado was overall younger than the national median age at 36.1. Indeed, seven states recorded a median age of 40 or older.

In fact, all states experienced an increase in median age in 2010 when compared with 2000.

Across the country, the population of 45 to 64 years old grew 31.5 percent to 81.5 million between 2000 and 2010. With that age group now making up 26.4 percent of the total U.S. population. Growth in that age group is primarily due to the aging of the baby boom population.

U.S. residents aged 65 and older also saw an increase in population percentages with a rate of 15.1 percent to 40.3 million people, or 13.0 percent of the total population.

Conversely, younger age groups saw a much slower growth rate between 2000 and 2010, with the number of people under 18 increasing just 2.6 percent to 74.2 million people, comprising 24.0 percent of the total population. During that same time period, the 18 to 44 age group grew at an even slower rate of just 0.6 percent to 112.8 million, comprising 36.5 percent of the population.

In 2000, Archuleta County residents aged 65 and older comprised 11.9 percent of the population; in 2010, that age group grew to make up 17.5 percent of the population. In the meantime, county residents 19 and under grew slightly from 2000, from comprising 20.2 percent of the local population to 21.6 percent in 2010.

The U.S. Census Bureau also reported last week that the Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million and accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population increase of 27.3 million.

Between 2000 and 2010, the nation’s Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, or four times the overall 9.7 percent growth rate.

In 2000, Hispanics accounted for 16.8 percent of the population. In 2010, that group increased to comprise 17.8 percent of county residents. Conversely, whites were 86.4 percent of the county’s population in 2010, falling from comprising 88.3 percent of Archuleta County residents.

In Colorado, two counties (Conejos and Costilla) had Hispanic majorities.

During the last 10 years, the Hispanic population experienced growth in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia.

Hispanics in New Mexico comprised 46 percent of the total state population, the highest proportion for any state. In Colorado, Hispanics accounted for 20.7 percent of the population in 2010, up from 17.1 percent in 2000.

Nationally, about three-quarters of Hispanics in the United States reported as Mexican, Puerto Rican or Cuban origin, with Mexican origin the largest group, representing 63 percent of the total U.S. Hispanic population (up from 58 percent in 2000.) That group increased by 54 percent and saw the largest numeric change (11.2 million), growing from 20.6 million in 2000 to 31.8 million in 2010. Mexicans accounted for about three-fourths of the 15.2 million increase in the total Hispanic population between 2000 and 2010.

Finally, the Census reported a slight increase in the number of vacant homes in Archuleta County. In 2010, 39.9 percent of available housing was vacant, up from 35.9 percent in 2000.

The U.S. Census Bureau will release further data in the coming weeks and months, including economic data for the county. As that data becomes available, it will be reported in The SUN.

jim@pagosasun.com

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