LIMA — Allen County continues to lose population at rates consistent with prior years, according to the latest estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The bureau’s American Community Survey, released on an annual basis, measures a number of demographic, social, economic and housing characteristics for cities and counties across the United States. The latest data released Thursday puts Allen County’s 2018 population at 102,663 — a reduction of 535 from 2017’s numbers.
Additionally, a deeper dive into Allen County’s numbers show that many of the trends affecting the county — such as changes in age and economic progress among the lower class — continue unabated.
One of the strongest trends with wide-ranging effects highlighted by the new census numbers is how age is changing the makeup of the county. The latest data puts the median age for the county at 40 in 2018, and a larger percentage of the population is hitting retirement age.
According to the census data, the population of those over 65 grew from 16,007 to 17,325 between 2014 and 2018, and the number of those of working age decreased from 61,605 to 59,798. Relatedly the number of those under the age of 18 also shrank falling from 24,681 to 23,046 between 2014 and 2018.
Such changes have also affected the standard size of the household in the county. Census numbers put the county’s mean household size at 2.56 in 2014, which shrunk to 2.4 in 2018.
Economically, census data shows that Allen County is starting to see some more progress when it comes to residents in the county’s lowest socioeconomic tier. One of the most marked changes came in the form of the county’s poverty rate. From 2014 to 2017, census numbers estimated the county’s poverty rate at just over 11%, but 2018’s numbers estimate a decrease of the poverty rate down to 7.8%.
Such change can be seen across with the board with a number of other economic qualifiers. The number of unemployed shrank by 1,500 people since 2014 — a steady decrease. Census data also shows that the number of households making less than $10,000 annually has decreased, and more people are falling off Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamp, rolls. In 2014, 16.4% of households used the program. In 2018, that number fell to 12.5%.
But while the employment market has improved markedly, the American Community Survey has yet to reflect any major increase in wages. In fact, census numbers show a decrease in both median household income, $52,350 to $49,063, as well as median family income, $64,953 to $61,267, between 2017 and 2018. Relatedly, per capita income, or the county’s total income divided by its population, stayed mostly stagnant in the last three years, and currently sits at $25,883.
Such wage figures have been adjusted according to the buying power of 2018 dollars.
As for counties surrounding Allen County, 2018’s American Community Survey data is currently unavailable at this time. The latest data set was only released for geographic regions with populations larger than 65,000.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.