County population grows 1.3%

Latest Census data estimates almost 250 new citizens from other areas of U.S.

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK, News-Telegram Managing Editor

March 28, 2008 - Hopkins County and the surrounding areas generally experienced some population growth from 2006 to 2007, according to figures recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Hopkins County grew by 1.3 percent from July 1, 2006, to July 1, 2007, according to the estimates. The Census Bureau numbers indicate the county added 419 residentswith the population rising from 33,350 in 2006 to 33,769 last year.

Where did all the new residents come from? Most moved here from other places, but a fair amount were new natives of the area.

An estimated 122 can be attributed to "Natural Increase" -- i.e., the number of births vs. the number of deaths. Over the 12-month time frame of the estimates, Census Bureau data recorded 473 births and 351 deaths.

Of the remaining 305, almost all came from "internal migration" -- people moving to the area from other places in the United States. Hopkins County added 248 people who moved here from elsewhere in the nation, and another 57 who came from outside the U.S., according to the Census Bureau estimates.

The estimates place Hopkins County as the 85th largest county in Texas, unchanged from last year. It ranks 69th in the total amount of population growth, and 79th in terms of percentage growth.

(By the way, if some of the numbers seem somewhat lower than they used to, there's a reason. In this latest round of data, the Census Bureau lowered the estimated number of people in the county from its projections one year ago. In March of 2007, the Census estimated the July 1, 2006, population for the county at 33,496. This month, the estimated was lowered to 33,350.)

The latest estimates released by the Census Bureau relate only to total population of counties. Estimates for incorporated areas, such as the cities of Sulphur Springs, Como and Cumby, are normally released in June.

Areas adjacent to Hopkins County also experienced some population increases, although from varying sources.

Rains County's growth, which has been one of the fastest in the nation in recent years percentage-wise, finally slowed down. The population in Hopkins County's neighbor to the southwest rose 1.9 percent from 2006 to 2007, with the count climbing from 11,004 to 11,211. The county only ranks 158th in Texas in terms of total numbers of residents, but 50th in amount of percentage growth. Last year, the county was the 160th largest in the state.

As in years past, most of the county's new residents came from other areas in the United States, withe internal migration estimated at 188 and the international total at 12. Much of the county's growth in recent years has been attributed to retirees from the Dallas area settling in the Lake Fork region. The county also recorded a natural increase of eight, with 121 births compared to 113 deaths.

Delta County's population fell 2.3 percent, losing 128 residents. The county's population, ranking 197th out of 254 counties in Texas, stood at 5,375 on July 1, 2007. Because of the decline, Delta County ranked 238th in terms of both total numbers and percentage change.

Delta's population shift came from a flight to other areas. Internal migration was a negative 128, with no increases attributed to international migration. Births and deaths were equal at 65.

Franklin County grew by 1 percent, with 113 more residents. That brought the county's head count to 11,094, ranking 161st in Texas.

Franklin County's natural increase was only six, with 131 births and 125 deaths. Most of the newcomers -- 90 -- were from other U.S. towns and counties, while international migration was estimated at 19.

Hunt County, which includes Greenville, only rose 0.6 percent to 82,945, an increase of 532 people. Hunt County remained the 42nd largest in the state.

The vast majority of Hunt County's growth came from births, with 417 more newborns (1,188) than deaths (771) reported. Net migration was pegged at 95, with 184 international migrants moving in, and 89 former residents leaving the county for other areas in the U.S.

Lamar County also saw very limited growth, with the population increasing only 0.3 percent. The county's population stood at 49,255 on July 1, ranking 61st in the Lone Star State.

Lamar County was another area that saw more U.S. citizens leave than arrive, with internal migration estimated at a negative 19. Another 60 international migrants were reported. Natural increase was 103, with 669 births outpacing the 566 deaths.

Titus County rose by 2.1 percent to 28,775, a gain of 617 people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau estimates. That ranks the county at number 92 in the state, one spot higher than the year before. The county also had the 49th biggest gain in total number of residents, and was 42nd in Texas in terms of the percentage of growth in the state.

Unlike Hopkins County, most of Titus County's net migration came from outside the U.S. Of the 239 new residents who moved to the county, 208 were from international locations, compared to 31 from the U.S.

Titus County's natural increase was 373, with 603 births and 230 deaths.

Wood County rose 1.1 percent to 41,542 residents, adding 462 people between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007. Wood County is the state's 71st-largest. It was number 63 in Texas in terms of total population gain and 87th in percentage growth.

Wood County was the only one in the area that actually saw a natural decrease, with 66 more deaths (575) than births (509), an indicator of an aging populace. Net migration, however, was the biggest of all area counties at 537, with 488 people moving in from other U.S. places, and international migration of 49.

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