100 Towns Lost Population in CT, Census Shows; More Diversity, More Housing Units Across State

Connecticut by the Numbers

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Connecticut's demographics have changed between the 2020 and 2010 U.S. Census.depositphotos.com image

Predictions that Connecticut would lose population during the past 10 years proved inaccurate, but the state’s slim population gain was much less than in our neighboring states. And although most towns have fewer residents now than a decade ago, Connecticut did experience increases in housing units, and increases in the percentage of Black, Hispanic and Asian residents, led by cities as well as some suburban communities.

Connecticut saw its strongest growth in Fairfield County and Greater Hartford, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau and analyzed by the Connecticut Data Collaborative (CTData), the lead organization in Connecticut in the U.S. Census Bureau’s State Data Center Program and the state’s official source for census data. Of Connecticut’s 169 towns, only 69 experienced population increase, and 100 saw the local population decline between 2010 and 2020.

Overall, during the past 10 years Connecticut’s population increased by 0.9%, from 3,574,097 in 2010 to 3,605,944. In the same period, the population grew by 7.4% both nationwide and in Massachusetts, by 4.3% in Rhode Island and 4.2% in New York. Connecticut growth ranks 48th out of 50 states and D.C.

Among the six New England states, Connecticut had the second largest decrease in the under-18 population, at 9.8%, as well as the lowest increase in the age 18 and up population, at 4.1%. The states with the highest percentage of people 18 and over (voting age), all with over 80% of their population in that age range, are D.C. and the New England states of Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire. Connecticut ranks 11th out of 51, with 79.6% of our population being age 18 or older.

“The 2020 Census revealed a number of trends in Connecticut, some predictable, some surprising,” explained Michelle Riordan-Nold, Executive Director of the Connecticut Data Collaborative. “This is valuable data which should guide decision-makers at the state level and in our municipalities, particularly as policies are determined for what actions will be taken post-COVID.”

CTData has developed a Census 2020 Hub at www.ctdata.org/census-2020-data-hub and an online explorer tool for individuals to review 2020 U.S. Census data, at www.ctdata.org/census-2020-explorer-page.

The analysis was conducted by the Connecticut Data Collaborative (CTData), a statewide public-private partnership that focuses on ensuring public data is open and accessible. CTData, as an advocate for accessible data, runs the CTData Academy, offering an array of workshops and training for people interested in improving their data literacy, providing opportunities for individuals, businesses and organizations to become more informed data users and critical data consumers.

Fastest Growing Communities in Fairfield County and Greater Hartford

The fastest-growing municipalities (with populations of at least 10,000) were Stamford (135,470, +10.5%), Bethel (20,358, +9.5%), Danbury (86,518, +7.0%), Brookfield (17,528, +6.5%), Norwalk (91,184, +6.5%), Rocky Hill (20,845, +5.8), Farmington (26,712, 5.4%), Ellington (16,426, 5.3%), Bloomfield (21,535, +5.1%), and South Windsor (26,918, +4.7%). The first five are in Fairfield County; the second five in Greater Hartford.

On the other end of the list of communities, losing the most population during the decade, were Somers (10,255, or a decline of 10.4%), Winchester (10,224, -9.1%), Montville (18,387, -6%), North Branford (13,544, -6.0%), and Enfield (42,141, -5.6%). It is worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented challenges for the 2020 Census, and may have also caused demographic shifts which could have had an impact on town populations.

Number of Housing Units Increases Statewide; Strongest Growth in Fairfield County

According to the 2020 Census, Connecticut has 1,530,197 housing units, an increase of 42,306 from 2010. The housing vacancy rate dropped from 7.9% in 2010 to 7.3% in 2020. Seven towns grew by over 1,000 housing units during the past 10 years, 5 others saw decreases exceeding 100 units.

§ Leading the growth were Stamford (+6,380, or +12.6%), Norwalk (+2,737, or +7.7%), New Haven (+2,558, or +4.7%), Danbury (+2,408, or +7.7%), Bridgeport (+1,862, or +3.3%), Hartford (+1,437, or +2.8%), and Shelton (+1,028, or +6.4%). Four of the seven are in Fairfield County.

§ At the other end of the spectrum, in the towns of Chester, East Haven, Canaan, Redding, and Winchester the number of housing units decreased by over 100.

The Connecticut towns with highest housing vacancy rate are Old Lyme (34.3%), Salisbury (31.8%), Sharon (28.2%), Cornwall (26.9%), Warren (26.6%), Washington (25.8%), Morris (25.5%), and Westbrook (25.3%). Towns with the lowest housing vacancy rates are Monroe (3.3%), Newington (3.4%), Cheshire (3.5%), and Wethersfield (3.5%).

The nation’s greatest increase in housing units from 2010 to 2020 was D.C. at 18.1%, followed by Utah at 17.5%. At -3%, Connecticut ranks 45th with an increase of 2.8%. Only one state – West Virginia – had decrease the number of housing units during the decade.

Urban, Suburban Communities Lead the Way in Percentage of BIPOC Residents

Connecticut’s share of BIPOC residents (people self-identifying as other than white non-Hispanic, including those of two or more races) increased from 22.5% in 2000, to 28.8% in 2010, and to 36.8% in 2020. The demographic change was most evident in some urban and suburban communities:

§ Towns with a highest share of people self-identifying as Hispanic or Latino of any race are Hartford (44.0, +0.6% from 2010), New Britain (44.0%, +7.2%), Bridgeport (42.3%; +4.1%), Windham (41.8%; 7.5%), and Waterbury (39.6%; 8.4%).

§ Towns with the highest share of Black or African American non-Hispanic population are Bloomfield (53.1; -3.1% from 2010), Hartford (35.5%; +0.1%), Windsor (35.1%, +1.9%), Bridgeport (32.8%; +0.5), and New Haven (30.4%; -3.0%).

§ Towns with large shares of Asian non-Hispanic residents are Rocky Hill (19.2%; an increase of 9.4% from 2010), South Windsor (18.4%; +10.3% from 2010), Mansfield (14.6%; +6.3%), Farmington (14.4%; +6.4%), and Woodbridge (13.2%; +4.6%).

Connecticut ranks 29th out of 51 in racial and ethnic diversity, with 66.4% of people in the Census indicating they are white. Created by Census Bureau, the Diversity Index measures “the probability that two people chosen at random will be from different race and ethnicity groups.” Among New England states, Connecticut has the highest diversity index score followed by Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Reordering of Connecticut’s Top-5 Cities

Connecticut’s largest five cities with populations of over 100,000 people remained the same, although their order is now different. Bridgeport remains Connecticut’s largest city with the population of 148,654 (an increase of 4,425 residents, or 3.1% compared to 2010). Stamford leaped from the 4th largest to the 2nd largest city with a 2020 population of 135,470 people, or an increase of 10.5% from 2010. New Haven (134,023) and Waterbury (114,403) experienced slightly more modest increases of 3.3% and 3.7%, respectively, while Hartford (121,054) lost 3,721 residents, or about 3% of its total population.

Additional data and analysis can be seen on the CTData website, utilizing data provided by the U.S. Census. Visit the CT Data Census Hub at www.ctdata.org/census-2020-data-hub.

In addition to CTData Academy, CTData provides customized data training, hosts easy-to-use, downloadable data, creates customized data visualizations and interactive data tools, provides data consulting services, and supports a community of data users through events and conferences. More than 200 data sets are now accessible to the public on the CTData website, including a wide array of subjects and policy categories, at www.ctdata.org.

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