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El Paso County continued sluggish growth in 2019, according to new census estimates


El Paso County’s population grew by just over 2,400 people between July 2018 and July 2019, a growth rate of 0.3 percent that continued a seven-year trend of little to no gain, according to new Census Bureau estimates.

The estimates showed that El Paso County had fairly robust growth between the last census in April 2010 and July 2012, when the country was emerging from the Great Recession and the 1st Armored Division was completing its relocation from Germany to Fort Bliss.

The county’s population has been essentially stagnant since then. El Paso’s average weekly wage has fallen further behind state and national averages during that time, creating incentives for workers to leave El Paso in search of better-paying jobs.

Components of our population change

El Paso’s stagnant population has largely been driven by a substantial loss in “net domestic migration,” the difference between the number of people moving into El Paso from other areas of the United States and the number moving out.

More than 53,000 more people moved out of El Paso to other U.S. communities than moved in between the 2010 census and July 2019, according to Census Bureau estimates.

What little growth El Paso has seen has come from natural population growth — the difference between births and deaths — and immigration from other countries, according to the estimates.

Slowest growth in decades

El Paso’s population has grown by less than 5 percent since the 2010 census, according to the estimates. When 2020 census results are released in early 2021, El Paso will have experienced its slowest population growth between censuses since 1930-40, when the county’s population declined slightly during the Great Depression.

El Paso’s population grew by almost 18 percent between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, and by almost 15 percent between 1990 and 2000.

Robert Moore

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986. He spent most of his career at the El Paso Times, serving in a variety of leadership roles. His work has received a number of top journalism honors including the Burl Osborne award for editorial leadership, the James Madison Award from the Texas Freedom of Information Foundation, the Jack Douglas Award from Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the Frank W. Mayborn Award for Community Leadership from the Texas Press Association. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award from the National Press Association. As a freelance journalist, Moore’s work has appeared in the Washington Post, Texas Monthly, ProPublica, National Public Radio, The Guardian and other publications. He has been featured as an expert on the border by CNN, MSNBC, BBC, CBC and PBS.

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