Rural counties hit by population shifts

Published 1:39 pm Friday, February 25, 2011

Butler County’s population remains flat, according to data released by the United States Census Bureau on Thursday. The county saw a slight decrease in population from 21,399 to 20,947 since the last census was conducted in 2000.

Overall, Butler County saw an increase in the number of Blacks or African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians living in the county, but a decrease in the number of White people, from 12,492 to 11,399, a difference of 1,093.

Blacks or African-Americans increased from 8,732 to 9,095 over a 10-year period, according to the data. Hispanics went from 143 to 191 and Asians jumped from 35 to 177.

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Butler County was one of 30 counties in the state to experience population loss. Alabama’s Black Belt was hit particularly hard. Lowndes County lost 16.1 percent of its population, falling to 11,299 and Wilcox County’s fell 11.5 percent, two of five rural counties across the state that saw a double-digit decline in population. Urban areas gained significant numbers of people. Shelby County’s population rose 36 percent.

Data for Alabama show that the five most populous incorporated places and their 2010 Census counts are Birmingham, 212,237; Montgomery, 205,764; Mobile, 195,111; Huntsville, 180,105; and Tuscaloosa, 90,468. Birmingham decreased by 12.6 percent since the 2000 Census. Montgomery grew by 2.1 percent, Mobile decreased by 1.9 percent, Huntsville grew by 13.8 percent, and Tuscaloosa grew by 16.1 percent.

The largest county is Jefferson, with a population of 658,466.

Its population decreased by 0.5 percent since 2000. The other counties in the top five include Mobile, with a population of 412,992 (increase of 3.3 percent); Madison, 334,811 (increase of 21.0 percent); Montgomery, 229,363 (increase of 2.6 percent); and Shelby, 195,085.