The Independent (USA)

Census: Population decline in rural areas continues, including Torrance County

- By Sara Werth

The release of 2020 Census data has shown that, overall, the population of the United States has grown by 7.4% since 2010. The population of New Mexico, however, rose by about 2%.

Percentage increases across the country have “generally been declining each decade,” said Marc Perry, demographe­r at the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Division, in a press conference Aug. 12.

“This past decade’s 7.4% increase was lower than the previous decade’s 9.7% increase and was, in fact, the secondlowe­st percent increase ever,” said Perry. “Only the 1930s had slower growth.”

Perry said that the declining population­s were “more pronounced at the county level,” and the data on East Mountains and Estancia Valley counties verifies that statement, part of a rural-tour-ban population shift that took place across the country after 2008.

Torrance County continues to lose population. In 2010, the county was down 3% from the previous Census, while in 2020, the county was down by almost 6%. By contrast, Torrance County grew by 64% between 1990 and 2000, and grew by 37% in the decade preceding that.

The population of Bernalillo County grew by 2.5% in the past 10 years, but between 2000 and 2010, the county experience­d a population increase of 19%. Likewise, Santa Fe County grew by 4.2% in the past decade, while the 2010 data show the county grew by 11.5%.

The number of New Mexicans identifyin­g as Hispanic or Latino continues to grow. Over the past 10 years, that percentage has increased almost 6.5% across the state, while the Tricounty area remains nearly half Hispanic or Latino.

Sandoval County has the largest percentage of Native-identifyin­g residents. Home to 12 Native American reservatio­ns, 11% of the county is Native. According to the National Congress of American Indians, that makes Sandoval County the second most Native-populated county in America, coming in after San Diego County in California.

The number of people in New Mexico without health insurance continues to decline. In 2010, the percentage of uninsured Americans was 17.7%, with uninsured New Mexicans at 22.6%. The 2020 Census reports that the percentage of uninsured Americans is down to 9.5%, and the percentage of uninsured New Mexicans is at 12%.

Despite recent economic woes, the poverty rate for New Mexico is down slightly from nearly 20% in 2010 to 18.2% in 2020.

Bernalillo County’s percentage of residents in poverty decreased by 6%, and Torrance County decreased by 14%. Santa Fe County had an increase in poverty of 1.6%. Overall, employment in the East Mountains and Estancia Valley is up roughly 3% from 2010,.

Median household incomes have also shifted in the past 10 years. In 2010, the median household income for the country was $50,046, with New Mexico’s at $42,186. In 2020, that figure rose to $62,834 for the national median, and $49,756 for the state median.

Bernalillo County’s median household income rose from $50,599 to $53,329 in the past decade; Santa Fe County’s rose from $57,469 to $61,200. Median household income in Torrance County fell slightly, from $36,347 to $36,120.

Census redistrict­ing data, which will contain more in-depth demographi­c statistics from the 2020 census, will be released no later than Sept. 30, 2021, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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