• 70°

Census says population is shrinking

Data from the 2020 U.S. Census shows Charlotte County’s population has declined by 8.4% since 2010. In comparison, the population went from 12,597 to 11,529.

Federal funding to the county may decrease as a result of a decline in population.

Daniel Witt

As the federal government distributes $1.5 trillion in annual spending across 316 federal programs over the next decade, the collected data from the 2020 census will help guide spending.

Medicaid, direct student loans, highway construction grants, low-income tax credits, and funding that counties receive for everything from local schools to rebuilding community centers and infrastructure are among these programs.

According to Charlotte County Administrator Dan Witt, county officials have not been informed why the population is declining.

“We will be inquiring how to appeal/challenge the results as I believe this decline does not represent the actual county population.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, overall, population grows or shrinks through two basic components – natural change (births minus deaths) and migration (people leaving or moving into).

In addition to the decrease in population, Witt speculates that there could be two other causes.

“We have a large and growing population of Amish in our county, and much of the communication for the 2020 census was done online and via other methods that would not have reached that community,” Witt said. “It is my understanding that census packets were not mailed to P.O. boxes, as in previous years, so many more people might not have been contacted.”