WASHINGTON, D.C. — Bladen County has the largest population decrease in southeastern N.C. over the past seven years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Population estimates released by the Census Bureau this month show on July 1, 2010, there were 35,194 people living in the Mother County. The Bureau says on July 1, 2017, the number had dropped to 33,478. The 1,716 residents lost reflect a 4.9 percent decrease, 0.9 percent of which was seen in the 12 months prior to July 1, 2017.
The decrease comes while the state overall is seeing a pretty solid increase. In the same seven years, the Tar Heel State’s population jumped from 9,574,247 to 10,273,419 people, an shot in the arm of 7.3 percent. The data show that 66 percent of North Carolina counties grew from 2016 to 2017, compared to a 57 percent growth nationally. The state remains the ninth most populous in the country.
“North Carolina is a wonderful place to live, work, start a business and raise a family, so it’s no surprise that our state continues to welcome new residents,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “We want to encourage growth for all parts of North Carolina—urban and rural, from the mountains to the coast.”
Other findings from the report include:
— Brunswick County leads North Carolina in population increase, with a 21.1 percent growth since 2010. It is part of the Myrtle Beach, S.C. metro area, the second fastest growing metro area in the country. Statewide, Pender County is fourth in growth rate, with 16.3 percent growth, behind Wake and Mecklenburg.
— The greatest decrease in population was seen by Northampton County, which lost 9.9 percent of its residents. It was followed by Bertie County (9.5 percent decrease), Washington County (8.6 percent loss), and Tyrell County (8.2 percent decrease).
— Statewide, fewer counties decreased in population than did last year.
Regionally, the Bureau reported:
— Cumberland County saw an increase of 1.6 percent.
— Hoke County’s population rose by 13.9 percent.
— Robeson County saw a slight decrease, 1.4 percent.
— Sampson County declined by 102 people, or 0.2 percent.
— Columbus County saw a 3.5 percent decline in population.
— Duplin County witnessed a 0.7 percent increase in numbers.
Attempts to reach the Bladen County Economic Development Commission were unsuccessful.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing email@example.com.