Fairfield County leads state with slight population gain

March 29, 2016

Fairfield County remains the only county in the state in which population increased in the past year, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

From July 2014 to July 2015, Fairfield County’s population saw an increase — albeit a tiny one — of 2,237 people, a 0.24 percent change. Meanwhile, Connecticut as a whole has been losing people since 2014.

The state lost 5,791 people between 2014 and 2015, a drop of 0.16 percent. The Nutmeg State’s population is now at 3,590,886, according to Census Bureau estimates.

But that’s still more people than lived in the state in 2010, when Connecticut’s population was 3,574,096.
Critics have been saying for years that Connecticut is an expensive place to live, with its high property taxes, rents, electricity rates and a host of other factors.

Still, despite the state’s problems, “Fairfield County is really a beautiful place to live,” said state Sen. Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, who is also one to bemoan the high cost of living here. “You have a fantastic shoreline, great parks, cultural diversity — and Manhattan with all it has to offer is just a short train ride away.”

The latest census figures show that with 948,053 residents, Fairfield County remains the most populous of Connecticut’s eight counties. While the gains have been small, the county has seen a 3.4 percent population increase since 2010, when its population was 916,850.

About 25 percent of that increase has been in Stamford alone. Kevin Quick, a Stamford native and Realtor at William Pitt Southeby’s, was not surprised by that news.

“Stamford has clearly experienced a population surge in the past five years,” he said Friday.

By his reckoning, most of the new arrivals are under 40 years of age, work in New York City and are seeking out more apartment for their dollar.

Another 12 percent of the increase is for Bridgeport.

The new data shows, with the exception of Fairfield County , all other counties continue to lose population. Hartford County is ranked second with 895,841 residents, followed by New Haven County with 859,470 residents.

Litchfield County lost the most residents, as its population declined 0.71 percent, with 1,307 fewer people in 2015 than in 2014, according to the census. Litchfield County is also the oldest county in the state.

The data showed a domestic migration of 6,994 people out of Fairfield County during the same period. The loss of those residents were offset by an international migration of 6,673 people into the county.

While Fairfield County residents might be proud of this population gain, there’s no hiding the fact the county is in a state and a corner of the U.S. that’s losing ground to the rest of the nation.

Perhaps the best gauge of this is in the number of congressmen the region has. While Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey and New England combined had 141 House members in 1950, those states are down to 85 now, a drop of 39.7 percent. California (53) and Texas (36) combined have more House representatives than these states.

Connecticut lost a congressman in 2002 — it had six before that. The 6th Congressional District in the state’s northwest region is now mostly the 5th District, and the former 5th District has been largely merged into the 4th.
So where is the population growing in the United States?

The census data shows four Texas metro areas together added more people last year than any state in the country except for Texas as a whole. The population in those areas increased by 412,000 people from July 1, 2014, to July 1, 2015.
Texas as a whole gained about 490,000.

The Villages, Fla., an area west of Orlando, was the nation’s fastest-growing metro area for the third year in a row, as its population increased 4.3 percent between 2014 and 2015. Although it calls itself “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown,” it’s only friendly if you’re older — you have to be 55 to live there.

That’s not surprising, because America is getting older. By 2050, one-fifth of the U.S. population will be 65 and older; now it’s about 14 percent.