Thursday, December 25, 2008

Population: Growth Rate Plummets

If plummet means a 25% drop, then New Mexico's population growth rate did indeed plummet between 2007 and 2008. The growth for the state's population was 1.02% for the year, according to Census Bureau figures released this week. That's a 25.6% drop from the 1.37% population growth from 2006 to 2007.
The 1.02% 07-08 growth rate tied for the second lowest growth rate of the decade with the 1.02% increase from 2002 to 2003. The 1.37% growth between 2006 and 2007 was the top rate to date for the decade and, as it proved, finished a four-increase in population growth rate. The lowest growth rate for the decade was the 0.4% increase between 2000 and 2001 when only 7,626 people were added to the New Mexico population.
At 1,984, 356, New Mexico's population continues nudging, but more slowly, toward the two million mark. Between 2007 and 2008, there were 19,954 people added to the state population. The previous year, 26,486 new people found a place here.
New Mexico's population growth rate ranked 18th nationally. The New Mexico population is 36th among the states.
The 2007 - 2008 population growth rate is one economic measure where we cannot cheerily (if irrelevantly) claim some consolation for performing better than a lot of others. Yes, 32 states grew more slowly than New Mexico. But our neighbors, a far more meaningful comparison, all were in the top ten for 07-08 population growth.
These are all net figures. People come to the state and they leave. Natural increase—births minus deaths—accounted for about three quarters of the New Mexico 07-08 growth. The big news is the near disappearance of "domestic migration," people moving to the state from other places in the United States. The people in this group provided only 5% of the population growth. They are important because, mostly they are adults or adults plus children. Most of the adults, retirees being a big exception, have jobs on the mind. They build the economy. The other population increase category is net international migration, legal and otherwise.

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