OBSERVER STAFF REPORT
Williston has experienced a roughly 16 percent population increase — about 1,400 new residents — since 2010, according to data released this year by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Census Bureau conducted its decennial census in 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Counting all people that reside in the U.S. requires several months of workers in the field knocking on doors. The completed data set has been parsed by Vermont’s Census State Data Center at UVM’s Center for Rural Studies.
Williston was among a few Vermont municipalities that had significant population growth over the decade. Others include St. Albans (about 1,000 new residents), Essex (2,500), South Burlington (2,300) and Burlington (2,400).
Places experiencing the greatest total population decline include Rutland, Barre and Lyndon. Each lost about 600 over the decade.
Chittenden County increased population by about 12,000 residents or 7.5 percent over the decade. Lamoille, Franklin and Grand Isle counties also experienced growth. Essex, Caledonia and Rutland counties each experienced population decline, with Essex declining by 6.1 percent, but only losing a net 400 residents over the decade.
In general, more populous municipalities experienced greater growth rates while more rural, less densely populated places were more likely to see slower growth or population decline.
Statewide, Vermont’s population has increased by about 17,000 people (2.8 percent) — from 625,741 to 643,077 since 2010. Vermont is tied with two other states — Missouri and New Mexico — for the 12th-lowest growth rate in the country. Nationally, growth tends to be slower in the Northeast and relatively faster in the South and West. This trend has been ongoing for the past couple of decades.
The Census also shows that Vermont’s racial and ethnic composition became more diverse over the past decade. Vermont remains the second least racially and ethnically diverse state in the country, with 8.7 percent of our population self-identifying as some race or ethnicity other than “White alone.” But in 2010, that figure was 6 percent of the total population. Maine and New Hampshire bookend Vermont as the least and third least racially and ethnically diverse states.
The Census Bureau and Vermont’s Census State Data Center plan to continue reviewing and releasing data gleaned from the 2020 Census. For questions about how to find and use census data, contact Vermont’s Census State Data Center Coordinator Michael Moser at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org.