Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Is Rhode Island's Population Really Rising?

Ever since the Census results were released, the presumption has been that Rhode Island's population is increasing, as the number of persons in the 2010 Census was higher than the number in the 2000 Census. Well, sometimes a picture says a thousand words. Below is a graph of annual population values for Rhode Island from the US Bureau of the Census (click to enlarge this).

Is our state's population really rising? Answering something as simple as this actually has one item that needs to be specified: Rising relative to when? If we compare the 2010 Census to the 2000 Census, then yes, Rhode Island's population has indeed risen. But we ranked #49 out of the 50 states for this change, by the way.

A preferable way to view population change is to examine what has been happening each year for the last several years. Sadly for Rhode Island, annual population has fallen every year since July of 2004! Rhode Island was the only state with the dubious distinction of having such a long streak of population declines. So, looking at population change in a more relevant context than it has recently been viewed here, Rhode Island's population is falling.

Stay tuned! I will have more about this in coming posts.

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