COUNTY—Wayne County Planning Director Craig Rickard presented the Board of Commissioners with the 2018 Planning Commission Report showing, among other things, that the estimated population of Wayne County is continuing to show a loss across all municipalities.
Released on May 24, 2018, the estimated municipal population change from 2010-2017 shows a decrease of 1,620 people (3.1 percent) in Wayne County, bringing the the 2010 total of 52,825 residents down to an estimated 51,205.
In relation to Wayne County's 725.60 square miles of territory, the population in 2010 was broken into 72.8 people per square mile (p/sm).
The estimate for 2017 is 70.57 p/sm, a decrease of 2.3.
“It's not as bad as previous years,” said Rickard in a later interview, noting that the estimated population loss for Wayne County has been consistent in the estimations since the 2010 census.
The planning director explained the estimates are garnered as best as can be by tracking birth and death rates, immigration and emigration to the area.
Interestingly, though the population is estimated to have declined since 2010, the estimated amount of change is less than it was a year ago.
Estimates from 2010-2016 indicated a four percent decline as opposed to the 3.1 percent decline noted in the 2010-2017 estimate.
The estimated 2017 losses were less in 24 municipalities and the same in three as compared to the 2016 data.
The only instance which showed greater losses in 2017 as opposed to 2016 was in Canaan Township.
Canaan Township went from an estimated growth of 24 residents in the 2016 data to an estimated loss of 79 residents in 2017.
Rickard explained Canaan Township's numbers often fluctuate more rapidly due to the inmate population in its prison.
According to the 2018 planning report, the largest percent population decreases are estimated in the boroughs – Bethany, Hawley, Honesdale, Prompton, Starrucca and Waymart – each seeing a decrease of 4.5 percent or greater.
Texas Township and Lehigh Township also show decreases of over four percent.
Even though the estimated population change is monitored, “The real story will be told when the actual Census goes out next April,” said Rickard.
Statewide, 46 Pennsylvania counties have an estimated decrease in p/sm, with Wayne County near the middle of that scale.
Most of Pennsylvania's estimated population growth is located in the Commonwealth's southeast corner.
Counties with estimated positive growth include Montour, Perry, Carbon, Adams, Snyder, Butler, Bucks, Franklin, Berks and Centre.
Counties with estimated growth exceeding 10 p/sm are York, Dauphin, Northampton, Lebanon, Lancaster, Cumberland, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh and Montgomery.
Philadelphia County had the highest estimated growth with 4090.08 p/sm.