Taking A Second Look At The Census Figures



In the article, "Payson population up," written by Erin Turner in the July 3 edition of the Payson Roundup, the population figures were not accurate, and the percentage of growth was misleading.

I contacted Ray Erlandsen of the Town of Payson Community Development Department to obtain the correct figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Arizona Department of Economic Security. The population of Payson in 1990 was 8,377. The population in 2000 was 13,620, and in 2006, it was estimated at 15,625.

To obtain a true measure of actual growth, it must be calculated as a compound growth rate (CGR), which is the annualized growth rate between two points -- 1990 to 2000 (10 years) and 2000 to 2006 (six years). For example, it's compound because if you grow $100 at 10 percent for three years, after the first year it's at $110, the second year $121, the third year $133.10.

With that said, using CGR between 1990 at 8,377 and 2000 at 13,620, the percent of increase would be 4.98 percent, and 2000 at 13,620, and 2006 at 15,625 would be 2.32 percent.

During the last town election, a CGR figure of 3 percent growth since 2000 was stated by several candidates, which was among the lowest growth rates in Arizona.

There are many factors to take into consideration, as to why the growth rate has continued to slow in Payson. Because 1997 was such a big year in construction of new homes, it may tend to distort the growth figures from 1990 to 2000. Since the year 2000, the cost of land and existing homes has continued to rise, which has had an effect on growth during that period.

In addition, the recent political climate has had a definite chilling effect on home building and perhaps on the desire of people or businesses to move here.

In any case, the slowdown in population growth, for better or worse, is quite obvious, with the compound growth rate, so far this decade, running at less than half the decade of the 1990s.

Gordon Metcalf, Payson

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