By Alton Mitchell
The United States Census Bureau released its 2016 population estimates for various municipalities across the United States including the city of LaFayette. The latest estimates show that LaFayette’s population numbers continue to slip slightly.
Based upon information from the U.S. Census Bureau as of April 1, 2010 the city of LaFayette was home to 3,003 residents. Since that date the population numbers have continued to decline with the Census Bureau reporting the latest estimate as of July 1, 2016 the city is now home to 2,968 residents.
The number of residents in LaFayette has declined from estimates in July of 2015 that showed the city had a population of 2,983 residents. That is a decline of 15 residents in a 12-month period based upon the estimate.
Overall numbers county-wide in Chambers County show a decline over the past year. Chambers County was home to 34,043 residents in July 2015. However that number has fallen to 33,843 residents based upon estimated numbers as of July 2016. In Chambers County LaFayette is not the only city to see a decline in population numbers.
According to data from the United States Census Bureau the city of Valley which is the largest city in Chambers County saw a slight decline in population numbers between 2015 and 2016. The latest estimates show as of July 2016 Valley was home to 9,377 residents. That number was down 65 residents from 9,442 residents just one year before.
Chambers County second largest city, Lanett also saw a decline by losing 43 residents from the year before for an estimate of 6,393 residents living in the city as of July 2016. The numbers in Chambers County show that the population decline is county-wide and not just isolated to one area.
However, despite the local declines several east Alabama cities are among the fastest growing in the state according to census population estimates. The city of Auburn ranks as the sixth fastest growing city in Alabama with a population increase of 18.24% over the 2010 census. Auburn has seen its population rise from 53,380 residents to 63,118 residents in only 6 years.
Phenix City in nearby Russell County ranked as the ninth fastest growing city in Alabama. Phenix City has seen its population rise from 32,822 residents to 37,132 residents since the 2010 census. The city of Opelika was right behind Phenix City ranking as the tenth fastest growing city in Alabama by growing its population from 26,477 residents in 2010 to 29,869 residents in 2016. The city of Troy in Pike County ranked as the 21st fastest growing city in Alabama raising its population 6.42% to 19,191 residents from 18,033 in 2010. The Montgomery suburb of Millbrook had a population increase of 773 residents over the past six years to rise to 15,143 residents.
Many of Alabama’s largest population centers saw decreases in populations. Alabama largest city Birmingham saw a .04% population decrease to become one of Alabama’s fastest shrinking cities. Birmingham saw its population change from 212,237 residents in 2010 to 212,157 residents in 2016. Also on the shrinking list was Alabama’s second largest city Montgomery. Montgomery saw its population decline 2.79% over the past six years to fall from 205,764 residents in 2010 to 200,022 residents in 2016. Montgomery is ranked as the sixth fastest shrinking city in Alabama.
Alabama’s third largest city has now fallen to the fourth largest city as Mobile saw a 1.13% population decrease from 195,111 in 2010 to 192,904 residents in 2016. The city of Huntsville surpassed Mobile to become Alabama’s third largest city with a population of 193,079.
The population figures released last week by the census bureau are only an estimate that are done yearly by the federal agency. The official census counts are done every ten years. The next official census is scheduled for 2020 in which the latest numbers will be released for Chambers County and other areas across the state and nation.