The latest population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau were good news for Hall County.
The figures show that Hall County’s population grew 4.9 percent from 2010 to 2016. The estimated population for July 1, 2016, was 61,705. The county gained 283 people since 2015.
All of that may not sound like tremendous growth, but it is a gain. In fact, it’s what a county should want, which is good, steady, incremental growth.
Growth that’s too fast can put a burden on housing, schools and law enforcement. Steady growth, on the other hand, builds the tax base while not stressing infrastructure.
All communities aspire to growth. No one wants to see their community shrinking. Hall County has been fortunate in that regard. Consider these numbers:
n Hall County’s population grew 15 percent from 2000 to 2016, going from 53,569 to 61,705.
n During that time, Hall County has had more births than deaths.
n Also during those 16 years, more people moved into Hall County than moved out.
The figures also had good news for most rural areas as 44 counties gained population from 2015 to 2016, compared to only 31 from 2011 to 2012. That number is surprising, considering the downturn in the ag economy in recent years.
Speculation is that the rural population decline has flattened out, more 30-somethings are seeking to live in rural areas, and immigration has had a larger impact on rural areas than expected.
Growth means more vibrancy for a city’s economy. It also can improve quality of life.
Grand Island’s growth has helped bring such accomplishments as a revitalization of the downtown area. Now branded Railside, downtown is seeing increased traffic through more entertainment options and more living areas, such as loft apartments, being constructed.
That revitalization is the result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people. Downtown development, coupled with business growth along the Highway 281 area, shows the benefit of having a growing population as Hall County is seeing.
Overall, the Census estimates peg Nebraska’s population on July 1, 2016, at 1.91 million, a 4.2 percent increase since 2010.
The growth is still concentrated in the eastern population centers. The state’s three largest counties, which are Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy, saw an increase of 82,000 people since 2010. The other 90 counties as a whole lost 1,500 people.
Hall County can be happy with its population figures and continue to look for steady growth.