The Census Bureau’s latest calculations say Powell’s population dropped by 35 people between 2010 and 2011, but recovered between 2011 and 2012 by adding back 29 residents. That’s a 0.5 percent annual growth rate after a 0.7 percent decline.
Park County overall is believed to have grown to 28,702 residents — up 0.9 percent from the previous year. The state of Wyoming — now with an estimated 576,412 residents — reportedly grew a 1.6 percent clip.
The state’s Economic Analysis Division says the northeast, central and southwest portions of Wyoming grew the fastest.
“After a couple of years of slow population and employment growth, which was caused by the Great Recession, Wyoming’s energy driven economy recovered well in 2011 and early months of 2012 — particularly in the northeast and southwest,” said a division news release. “However, many rural areas without much mineral extraction continued to experience slower population growth.”
In Park County, however, the rural areas reportedly grew the fastest. The estimates say the number of people living out of town rose 1.2 percent, to 12,356 residents. Cody’s population, meanwhile, rose to 9,689 (up .9 percent), while Meeteetse (330 residents) and Frannie (population 161) basically stayed flat.
According to the estimates, Powell remains Wyoming’s 15th-largest municipality. The city narrowly leads Douglas (now just 28 residents back with a population of 6,280) while trailing Torrington (population 6,757).
Census Bureau estimates can be rough and are subject to revisions.
For example, the bureau figured last year that Powell housed 6,393 residents on July 1, 2011. Bureau officials later decided they overestimated the city’s population by 114 people; the new calculations mean Powell’s population didn’t grow between 2010 and 2011 and actually shrank.
Cody and Park County as a whole also were revised downward, though not as steeply as Powell.
Residential building permit data compiled by the state indicates that 2011 brought Park County the fewest number of new housing units since 1991. That likely played a role in the revisions.
The population estimates, which are based on the permits, IRS tax returns and births and deaths, can’t substitute for actual Census counts. The last Census showed that between 2000 and 2010, Powell grew well beyond bureau estimates.