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Bill Rubin column: Population gain. And pains

Bill Rubin

By Bill Rubin, St. Croix Economic Development Corporation Executive Director

Last fall, the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) finalized population estimates for local units of government, as of Jan. 1, 2017. The DOA says St. Croix County grew by 4.13 percent since the 2010 Census and added 3,483 new residents. St. Croix's year-old population is estimated at 87,828 making the numeric gain since 2010 roughly equivalent to the 3,300 people residing in the Village of Ellsworth.

Nearby Eau Claire County added 3,604 people to its latest population estimate of 102,340 meaning it grew 3.65 percent since 2010. Dane County, with its own self-promoted gravitational field, added 36,714 people over seven years, bringing its population above half a million to 524,787. For comparison, Clark County, between Eau Claire and Marshfield, has a total population of 34,748 residents (Fake news: Dane gobbles up Clark).

Twenty of the state's 72 counties reportedly lost population since 2010, led by Milwaukee County's decline of 2,319 residents. Taylor County eked out a gain of three new residents.

Even with St. Croix's growth, the DOA says the villages of Baldwin (-7), Deer Park (-2), Hammond (-50), North Hudson (-4), Star Prairie (-5), and Woodville (-18) lost population since the last Census. The city of Glenwood City lost 24 residents. Hudson's gain was 1,025 residents, or +8.06 percent, while New Richmond added 534 (+5.4 percent gain), and River Falls added 417 (in St. Croix and Pierce counties). Outside the Hudson city limits, 206 residents were added in the Town of Hudson (+2.43 percent increase), plus 539 in Troy (+11.46 percent), and 135 in St. Joe (+3.51 percent).

Wisconsin's 2017 population estimate is 5.783 million. It grew by 1.69 percent since 2010 and added 96,292 new residents.

The process restarts in August when DOA announces new estimates for Jan. 1, 2018. In a couple of years, the feds are in charge during the 2020 Census.

Up or down, change is constant.