2010 Census Sheds Light on Population Shifts in Salida

As more details are released from the 2010 Census we can reflect on what has (or has not) changed in Salida’s population over the last decade.

The decennial census provides us with a snapshot of our population every ten years. It is the most complete population information that most communities have and it provides a good baseline for tracking changes over the years. More information about the Census can be found at www.census.gov.

Many people have heard by now that the population of Salida is reported to have declined from 5,504 people in 2000 to 5,236 people in 2010. In the same period the number of housing units in the city increased from 2,748 to 2,894. This decrease in population of 268 people at the same time as an increase of 146 housing units may stem from a number of causes.

In 2000, 244 homes or 9% of housing units were vacant. That percentage increased to 13.1% (379 homes) in 2010. This likely indicates an increasing number of second homes in our city. Other factors that contribute to this conclusion include a rising number of utility bills which are mailed to owners outside of our community and the rising housing prices in the last decade. Housing prices rose more quickly in the last decade than did wages which indicates that purchasers were not relying on locally earned incomes to buy homes in the city.

Within the City the ratio of men to women remained steady over the last decade with men making up 49% of the population and women at 51%.

The median age in Colorado increased from 34.3 years to 36.1 years from 2000 to 2010. As a city we have aged over the last decade moving from a median age of 42.1 years in 2000 to 46.2 years in 2010. This means that one of three things is occurring; (1) older citizens are moving in, (2) younger citizens are leaving the community, or (3) a combination of both 1 and 2 is occurring.

In digging further into the data we find that the number of Salidans under 18 decreased from 1,180 in 2000 to 935 in 2010, a shift from 21.4% of the population to 18%. The under 18 demographic declined from 2000 to 2010 by 245 people. Interestingly the percentage of our population age 65 and over remained exactly the same at 20.6% with a decline of 57 people. The population between ages 18 and 65 increased by 34 people in that period for a net loss of 268 people in Salida.

A study of the detailed demographic information provided in the Census each decade provides some surprises along with verification of trends that we feel are occurring in the community. City staff will continue to examine the Census data as it is released over the next year. The findings will be provided to the City Council and will help to inform their decisions about the direction and priorities of the city.

Any comments or questions are welcome and can be directed to myself at dara.macdonald@cityofsalida.com, 530-2629.