Springfield’s population appears to have leveled off after close to a decade of slow, steady losses according to information released from the U.S. Census Bureau Thursday.
Springfield actually added about 300 people between 2016 and 2017 a 0.5-percent increase, according to the latest census estimates. However, the city’s population is still down more than 1,300 people compared to 2010.
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Urbana’s population was essentially flat between 2016 and 2017 with about 11,250 residents, Census data showed.
The latest numbers are a reason for optimism, although it’s tough to know for sure how accurate the figures are, said Warren Copeland, Springfield’s mayor.
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“If they’re right it’s great news,” Copeland said. “What has happened clearly is that we have more jobs. With that we hope that’s a magnet for there to be more people. Many of those people are coming to take jobs at companies that have been here all along but who have expanded because of the recovery of the economy.”
Data released by the Census Bureau earlier this year showed Clark County also may be showing signs that it's on more solid ground. Clark County's estimated population dropped by more than 1,000 residents between 2015 and 2016 alone, but fell by only 64 residents last year.
And Champaign County grew for the first time since 2009, the Census Bureau data shows.
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Champaign County’s population hit a peak of about 40,100 residents in 2010 but saw an annual decline beginning in 2011. It fell about 3.4 percent over the next several years, to about 38,700 in 2016. Champaign County finally saw growth between 2016 and 2017, when it added slightly more than 100 residents, according to the new estimates earlier this year.
New Carlisle’s population dipped slightly, from 5,600 residents in 2016 to about 5,570 last year.
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That city’s population fell about 3.3 percent since 2010 compared to a 2.3 percent decline for Springfield.
“It’s partially a sign of the success of some things we’ve done to attract new companies and new jobs,” Copeland said of the latest figures. “But it also is the growth of companies that have been here all along and that is clearly good news.”
Meanwhile, about an hour North the census data showed Columbus was one of the top 15 cities in the U.S. that saw the largest number of new residents between 2016 and 2017 with about 15,400 added to the population. It lists Columbus’ population at about 880,000.
San Antonia, Texas topped the list with the largest population gain of 24,200 people, an average of 66 new people a day between 2016 and 2017, according to information from the Census Bureau.
The Springfield News-Sun provides continuous coverage of economic development in Clark and Champaign counties. For this story, the paper reviewed census data for Springfield and Urbana that showed the population in area cities appears to be stabilizing.
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