“People are figuring out Powell is a pretty nice place to live,” said Mayor Scott Mangold of the results.
Powell remained the state’s 15th-largest city, sandwiched between Douglas (population 6,501) and Torrington (6,120). The state’s population totaled 563,626.
In adding 941 residents over the 10-year period, Powell grew more than Cody, whose population was recorded at 9,520. Buffalo Bill’s namesake grew by 683 residents since 2000 for a 7.3 percent increase.
Meeteetse had 24 fewer people than it did in 2000, with its population falling to 351.
Another 827 folks moved into Park County’s rural parts, bringing the number of rural residents to 12,025, up 7.4 percent.
Park County as a whole grew by 9.4 percent, adding 2,419 residents for a 2010 population of 28,205 residents.
That growth was the Big Horn Basin’s strongest.
Neighboring Big Horn County grew by 1.8 percent, to 11,668. Census takers found 8,533 residents in Washakie County, which is up 2.9 percent. Seventy fewer residents were recorded in Hot Springs County than in 2000, for a 1.4 percent decrease and a population of 4,812.
Elsewhere, the state’s energy-rich counties — such as Sublette (up 73.1 percent) and Campbell (up 36.9 percent) — saw the most significant growth, the state Economic Analysis Division noted in a release.
Wyoming’s minority populations — including Hispanic, American Indian, black, Asian and Pacific Islander residents — grew more quickly during the decade (up 45 percent) than did the white, non-Hispanic population (up 10.3 percent).
“Similar to other parts of the nation, the face of Wyoming’s population is changing,” said Amy Bittner, an economist with the Economic Analysis Division.
However, minority groups still remained a small minority in the state.
Statewide, 483,874 residents (85.9 percent) were white, non-Hispanic, while 50,231 residents (14.2 percent) were in a minority group; in 2000, 88.9 percent of Wyomingites were white, non-Hispanic.
In Park County, white, non-Hispanic residents made up 92.5 percent of the population, the 2010 Census found. That was down slightly from 2000, when they made up 94.5 percent of the populace.
In the county, 26,090 residents were white, non-Hispanic, 1,365 were Hispanic or Latino, 168 were American Indian or Alaska Natives, 166 were Asian, 56 were black or African American and 25 were native Hawaiian or other Pacific islander. Another 440 residents were of two or more races, while 399 were of some other race.
On Monday, City Administrator Zane Logan said he was pleasantly surprised to see Powell was the fastest growing town in Park County.
Perhaps part of the reason for the surprise is that Powell’s population had apparently been underestimated by the Census Bureau in recent projections; for 2009, the Bureau estimated Powell’s population at 5,786 residents — for a 3.5 percent growth rate since 2000.
Bittner cautioned against comparing estimates — which are based on births and deaths, building permits and IRS tax returns — with the census data, where folks have actually been counted.
“In general, it is difficult to create estimates for fast growing areas and small areas (down to the city and town level),” Bittner said. Further, areas with college students — like Powell — may have lower estimates because the students may file their tax returns with their parents’ address.
Powell likely owes some of its growth to Northwest College, where enrollment grew by about 550 students from the spring of 2000 to the spring of 2010.
Mangold said the city is a great retirement community, but he also said when census data is released in May breaking down Powell’s population by age group, he expects to see growth among all ages.
Mangold said Powell is well laid out and inexpensive.
“I think it’s going to continue to grow and I think a lot of people are using the (expanded) highway to commute to Cody,” he said, citing Powell’s cheaper cost of living.
Logan said he didn’t expect the city to grow so much.
“But I think Powell is a nice community, and apparently, it isn’t a secret anymore,” Logan said.