Washington County population declines

Washington County population declines
Photo courtesy of washingtoncountyny.gov. The Washington County, New York logo.

Washington County was among 70% of counties in the state that decreased in population in the last decade, dropping from 63,216 people in 2010 to 61,310 people (a 3.03% change) in 2020. In 2020, there was an increase of 154 housing units in the county (28,998).

At the Washington County Agricultural Planning and Tourism Committee meeting on Sept. 1, county director of economic development Laura Oswald revealed the first details of the 2020 Census.

Oswald’s report included statistics on housing units in 2010 and 2020, the population in each township and village from 2000, 2010 and 2020 and the changes in total number of people and percentage in a 10-year span and a 20-year span.

Washington County Town Supervisors and members of the Washington County Agricultural Planning and Tourism Committee discuss initial details of the 2020 Census at the Supervisor’s Chambers in Fort Edward.

“The overall accuracy of the county population was pretty good,” Oswald said to the committee attendees.

The only township to increase in population within the last decade was Kingsbury, with 297 additions.

The Town of Granville saw the largest decrease of all 17 townships and eight villages in the county with a loss of 454 people as it went from 6,669 to 6,215 (6.81%).

“A modest reduction is not that surprising after all,” Granville supervisor Matt Hicks said via phone call. “I guess we’re sort of on par with Washington County and Upstate New York.”

The Town of Whitehall saw a minimal decrease in 10 years with a loss of 19 people, dropping from 4,042 to 4,023.

The Village of Whitehall had a 149-person decrease while the Village of Granville had a 139-person decrease, going to 2,465 people and 2,404 people, respectively.

Similarly, the Town of Hartford dropped in population, going from 2.269 in 2010 to 2,193 in 2020.

Hampton, the least populated township in the county, was listed with 857 people in 2020.

The Town of Granville had a significant decrease in housing units in 10 years, dropping from 2,858 in 2010 to 2,777 in 2020 while the Town of Whitehall gained 20 housing units and was marked at 1,935 in 2020.

The Village of Granville also saw a decrease of 40 housing units, sitting at 1,118 in 2020. The Village of Whitehall gained one compared to 2010, as it was recorded with 1,295.

Addressing the state of New York, the original expectation was for the state to have a decrease in population from 2010 to 2020. Instead, New York got over the 20-million hump with an increase of 823,147 people in the last 10 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

However, Oswald said most of the increase stemmed from New York City, which accounted for 76% (629,051 people) of total growth in the state.

In terms of self-response rate, or percentages of housing units completing the survey, 60.7% of Washington County housing units filled out their 2020 Census. This was a 0.9% decrease from 2010 and the lowest decrease in percentage compared to Essex, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Warren Counties.

“Based on the self-response rate of the 2020 Census compared to the 2010 Census, we did much better than our neighboring counties,” Oswald said.

Oswald pointed out that there were numerous counts of partially incomplete surveys online, which could have created discrepancies in data collection. 39.6% of the 2020 responses in Washington County were submitted via internet, balance phone and mail.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported the country to have the slowest population growth rate since the 1930s with a 7.4% increase. 53% of counties across the country had decreases in population while the significant increases came in primarily metropolitan and city areas.

Oswald said she is waiting on statistics broken down by demographic to be introduced in the future.