Thursday, March 24, 2016

ABQ Population Stagnates

Albuquerque's Population Growth in 2015 Nearly Imperceptible

BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI The Albuquerque metro area's population grew by a measly 0.27 percent in the year that ended July 1, 2015, the second-worst performance of 10 major metro areas in the region, according to population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. In addition, the four-county area continued to suffer a so-called "brain drain", posting a net outmigration of 1,552 people, meaning that many more people left the area than came here. The area's population grew by 2,399 people and was 903,502 as of July 1, 2015, the Census Bureau said. Stagnating population growth generally means that an area's economy isn't growing. Net outmigration usually means that people are leaving to get better jobs elsewhere. New Mexico and the Albuquerque area's economies haven't been doing well. In the 12 months that ended Jan. 31, the state lost 1,800 jobs, for a 0.2 percent decline. The Albuquerque area added 2,700 jobs during the year for a 0.7 percent increase. But that was down from the 1.2 percent increase it saw in December. Two counties in the metro area—Bernalillo and Sandoval—had slight population increases, while Torrance and Valencia counties had population decreases. In Bernalillo County, the population grew by 1,994, or 0.3 percent, and in Sandoval County it increased by 1,131, or 0.83 percent. In Torrance County the population shrank by 377, or 2.35 percent. Valencia County lost 349 people for a 0.46 percent drop. Two of the state's other metro areas—Farmington and Las Cruces—lost population during the year. Farmington's population dropped by 1,795, or 1.4 percent, and Las Cruces lost 377 people for a 0.18 percent decline. The Santa Fe area saw its population grow by 828, or 0.57 percent. When compared to population growth in other cities in the region, the Albuquerque area's performance just plain stunk. The Denver area's population grew by 51,604, or 2 percent during the year; Phoenix saw an increase of 72,897 people, or 1.66 percent; and Salt Lake City added 17, 296 people for a 1.52 percent increase. Only El Paso turned in a lousier performance than Albuquerque; its population grew by 568, or 0.07 percent. Here's how the Albuquerque metro area's population growth compares to other metro areas in the region: PopIncr-No PopIncr-Pct Dennis Domrzalski is news editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at

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