by Ray Bendici
Mar 14, 2013
06:16 AMUnsteady Habits
The Population Myth
You’ve probably heard this one before, most likely from a smug friend moving to a warmer climate: “Last one out of Connecticut, turn out the lights.”
Over the past decade or so, there have been numerous stories, both in the media and anecdotal, suggesting that the state is constantly losing residents (especially young men and women) to other places with better weather, more jobs, lower taxes and a favorable cost of living—essentially that people are flocking out of the state as if being chased by Godzilla.
Well, like giant fire-breathing, city-smashing dinosaurs, these stories tend to be pumped-up productions that play more on imagination and ignorance than actual facts.
The bottom line: Connecticut’s population grew by almost 170,000 between the 2000 and 2010 censuses (3.41 million to 3.57 million). It’s also projected by the Connecticut State Data Center to keep growing over the rest of this decade, hitting 3.74 million by 2020.
We’ve also gained in the coveted 15-to-24-year-old demographic, showing 18 percent growth between 2000 and 2010, the sixth-highest rate among U.S. states.
Granted, these rates are modest, but still positive—in short, we’re not losing anyone here. In fact, we’re also drawing people from faraway places at a very good clip.
In the first decade of this century, Connecticut’s immigrant population increased 31 percent, growing from 370,000 to 487,000. Overall, immigrants now make up over 13 percent of the state’s population, with those coming from Latin America being the largest group at 41 percent.
That all being said, we do continue to gray as the Baby Boomers settle into their Next Acts—the median age now having risen from 37 to 40. Also like the rest of the country, Connecticut’s birth rate has slowed substantially, which means we’ll eventually start losing people. We’re just not quite there yet.