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Alabama’s child population declining, according to AUM Center for Demographic Research

by Josh Coats | Jul 11, 2013

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Center for Demographic Research’s 2013 Alabama Population Data Sheet to be released on July 11, World Population Day, shows a decline in the population of residents younger than 18.

Fifty-eight of the state’s 67 counties registered a decline in the percent of the population under age 18 between 2010 and 2011. The top five counties with a drop in youth population were: Macon (from 20.6 to 19.5 percent), Sumter (from 22.3 to 21.3 percent), Autauga (from 26.8 to 26.0 percent), Hale (from 24.8 to 24.1 percent), and Marengo (from 24.7 to 24.0 percent).

Five county’s youth population remained unchanged in 2010 and 2011: Henry (22.6 percent), Jefferson (23.5 percent), Lowndes (24.2 percent), Marshall (25.0 percent), and Winston (21.6 percent). Only three counties registered some increase in the percent of population below age 18 between 2010 and 2011: Coosa (from 20.5 to 21.0 percent), Montgomery (from 24.4 to 24.8 percent), and Perry (from 24.1 to 24.2 percent).

Researchers say the decreasing youth population is mostly the result of low fertility. Today, the total fertility rate – which measures the average number of children per woman – is down to 1.8. This figure is lower than the 2.1 children per woman registered in 2007 and the 2.0 observed in 2009.

“A total fertility rate of less than 2.1 children per woman is a sign of demographic winter, a situation that can lead to population decline,” said Yanyi Djamba, director of the Center for Demographic Research. “Today, 53 of the 67 counties have total fertility rates below 2.1 children per woman.”

Djamba said there are, however, some encouraging statistics. Marriage rates are high and divorce is low in the state. Marriage rate, which measures the number of marital unions solemnized per 1,000 people in a given year, increased in the state and in 39 counties between 2010 and 2011. The divorce rate declined in the state and 38 counties during the same period.   

The 2013 Alabama Population Data Sheet provides up-to-date demographic data for all counties. It shows just how sharp the contrasts are between wealthy and poor counties, and how each county compares to the state and the nation.

The data sheet also features new variables such as international, domestic, andoverall migration, unemployment rates in 2007 and 2012, as well as the percent of the Hispanic population in each county.

The AUM Center for Demographic Research is housed in the Division of Outreach at Auburn University at Montgomery. The center regularly produces datasheets focusing on matters of health, population, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, children’s statistics and education. AUM Outreach offers a variety of consulting, training and research services to help organizations and individuals work more efficiently and effectively. Focusing on solutions that help companies, public agencies and individuals expand their professional knowledge, Outreach strives to improve the quality of life forcitizens of Alabama.

For a copy of the 2013 Alabama Population Data Sheet, contact the Center for Demographic Research at 334-244-3463, TDD 334-244-3800, cdr@aum.edu or www.demographics.aum.edu.

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