Data gathered by the 2010 Census released this week revealed an expected increase in the city of Statesboro’s population and a welcome one for city leaders.
According to the 2010 data, the number of people calling Statesboro home increased by more than 24 percent since the turn of the decade. The growth translates to 5,533 new residents, raising city totals from 22,889 in 2000, to 28,422 in 2010.
“The growth is something we expected. It speaks well of the city and shows that people want to come and locate in our area because of the resources it provides,” said Mayor Joe Brannen. “These results really showcase the kind of community that we have.”
The most recent census ranks Statesboro 31st among 586 Georgia cities in terms of population.
“That’s awesome. I’m excited about the growth,” said Councilman Will Britt. “I’m glad to see our growth and where we are. I hope the increase is reflective of the building practices we have put into place, due of our downtown and shows that people want to live here; and I hope the trend continues.”
“I think it is tremendous. I think the growth shows that Statesboro is a place that presents a quality of life that exceeds most in the state of Georgia,” said Councilman Travis Chance. “We are a main street-community with tremendous population potential, as well as future growth potential. Overall, I am very pleased with the results and think there are more good things to come.”
Chance said the growth is a testament to what Statesboro can offer its citizens.
“I think the growth is an indicator of what the city provides. People flock to areas that provide them with services, amenities and a quality of life that they want, and I feel like Statesboro offers a great combination of all of that,” he said. “I have been here for the entire 10 years of growth. When I got to Statesboro in 1998, there were less than 15,000 students, there was not a Market District, no Buckhead Plaza and the bypass had just been completed. I think it’s great.”
According to Britt, much of the increase can be attributed to an added emphasis on counting all of the city’s residents.
“I think a lot of the growth is strictly due to the effort we invested in counting. I think a lot the new people were in our community in the past, and simply weren’t counted. I’m glad to see those numbers are more accurate now,” said the councilman. “One of the goals was to make sure we had an accurate count, because we wanted to break 25,000. I give a lot of that credit to the Chamber of Commerce and the leaders in our community that really stressed we get the counts right.”
The Statesboro growth is consistent with a 25-percent increase in county figures. Bulloch County grew to 14,234 residents, bringing its total population to 70,217 – compared to 55,983 in 2000.
Many of the newly counted residents work and operate mostly within Statesboro limits, but are not represented in city figures, said Britt. The number of people calling the city home could be much higher, he said.
“People, including a lot of students, live just outside the city limits. Those people are counted toward the county and won’t be reflected in our numbers. The Burkhalter people, people living in Iron Gate and in the Country Club, are all not accounted for in our numbers,” said Britt.
Of the county’s more than 14,000 newly documented residents, just 5,823 live within city limits of one of its four towns.
The 2010 count adds what amounts to an entire district-worth of residents to Statesboro, according to Chance. Due to the increase, the city will have to redraw its five voting districts in the future.
“This will clearly require us to have to redraw district lines and continue to expand our public safety to meet the needs of more people,” said Britt. “Every single councilman’s lines will have to be affected by this.”
The city’s planning department will be charged with the task of formulating new districts once the census data is evaluated.
Statesboro was one of three Bulloch County municipalities to experience growth in the 10-year span between censuses, joining Brooklet and Register.
Brooklet, in terms of percentage growth, was the county’s biggest gainer during the decade, increasing its population by 25 percent (279 new residents) – Register, by gaining 11 people, grew by almost 7 percent.
The city of Portal experienced the loss of little more than 6 percent of its population, counting 42 residents fewer in 2010 than in 2000.
The results for surrounding counties are a mixed bag.
Screven County experienced losses across the board, seeing minimal growth in only one of its five cities.
Hiltonia lost almost 19 percent of its population; Newington experienced a nearly 15 percent decrease; Oliver counted 5-percent fewer residents; and Rocky Ford has 22-percent fewer people than in 2000.
Sylvania was Screven’s only growing city, counting 75 new residents in 2010 – an almost 3-percent increase in its population.
Emanuel County experienced population increases in Adrian (15%), Garfield (32%), Nunez (12%), Oak Park (32%), Summertown (14%), Swainsboro (5%) and Twin City (1%). Only Stillmore experienced losses, counting 27 percent fewer residents than in 2000.
In Evans County: Seven fewer residents meant a five percent decrease in Bellville’s population, while the county’s three other cities all made gains – Claxton by 440 people (19%), Hagan by 99 (11%) and Daisy by three residents (2%).
Metter and Pulaski, in Candler County, both grew according to the new census – Metter is home to 205 more people, a five-percent increase; and Pulaski added five residents (2%).
In Jenkins County, Millen lost 372 citizens – a decrease of almost 11 percent.
Cities in Effingham and Bryan Counties saw a major influx of residents during the previous decade.
Though Pembroke experienced an eight-percent decrease in its population, Richmond Hill added more than 2000 residents – an almost 31 percent increase.
In Effingham, all three cities made gains.
Guyton added 564 residents, a 50-percent increase; Springfield counted 944 new people, a 49-percent change; and Rincon nearly doubled its 2000 population by adding 4,355 individuals, a 97-percent increase.
Jeff Harrison can be reached at 912-489-9454