Over the years I’ve asked people what they thought our county growth was and every time everyone guesses much higher than it is. From my very first community town hall meetings I’d include growth data to help everyone realize, it may feel like we are bursting at the seems, but our growth is actually quite tame. There were a couple of decades (1970’s and 1990’s) when we had growth spurts. As you’ll see in one of the charts below, the boom bust of 2006-2010 was not a population boom, it was an assessed valuation boom-bust cycle.
This chart is every census since the first census. The census are the most accurate measures of population, all the years in-between each census are “estimated” values.
This little table shows the year to year percent changes since 1990.
Here is the % growth rate over variable periods of recent time ….
The rate of our population change has been decreasing over recent time ….
Idaho ranks 10th in population growth change since 2010 ….
In this chart you can see the steady population growth against the housing bubble.
This little table helps everyone understand how many years it takes to double population at a given annual percent change …..
2.5% growth rate is considered healthy and normal. That said, every 28 years, our population will double with a 2.5% growth rate.
We can work backwards, if we half our current population (est at 150,000) that would equal 75,000. According to historical estimates, our population was roughly 75,000 in 1991 which would equate to 2.8% annual growth rate over 25 years. We doubled our population in 25 years (1991 to 2016).
There is a greater philosophical discussion when it comes to controlling population growth in any area. First if controlling the population growth is the goal why do we have open borders? Should we limit births? Should we prohibit people from entering a state, county or city that wants no growth?