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Carbon's population numbers, growth vary from year to year

Staff reporter

While the population has increased significantly nationwide in the last 100 years, the numbers in some areas of the United States have varied.

In the early part of the 20th century, the trend carrying over from the industrial revolution of the 1800s continued, as individuals and families moved from the country to the cities in vast numbers.

A rural place that boasts a strong industrial base fueled by the coal industry, Carbon County's population has varied, going up and down, but never reaching the goals envisioned by local officials and residents as late at the early 1950s.

According to United States census figures, the population of Carbon County jumped from slightly more than 5,000 residents in 1900 to almost 25,000 in 1950

But the expansion bubble burst in 1960. Local growth had stopped and, in fact, reversed during the preceding decade.

The 1960 census data show that the population of the county registered at only 21,135, an almost 4,000 person decrease from 10 years earlier.

By 1970, the population dropped to the lowest point since 1920 at 15,647.

By 1980, a coal boom resulted in a rebound to 22,179. The population expanded by 6,532 persons for the second highest growth posted in a 10-year period. The highest rate was achieved between 1910 and 1920, when the local population grew by 6,865 residents.

Between 1980 and 1990, the population in Carbon County reached the highest point since 1950, climbing to 23,859 in 1983. Then the county's population began to fall and, by 1990, the number local residents decreased to 20,228.

The 2000 census statistics indicated Carbon County experienced a slight gain in numbers to reach a population of 20,522. In contrast, the Wasatch Front has doubled and tripled in population in some counties since 1960.

The move from the country to the cities appears to be true in Carbon County. During the times when the general population declined, Price managed to grow.

The majority of the decline in other areas of the county has resulted from the abandonment and closure of mining towns and coal camps.

Places like Royal, Mutual, Castle Gate, Standardville, Latuda and Hiawatha, along with rapid declines in population in towns like Kenilworth, Sunnyside and East Carbon, have added to a declining county population.

The declines often added to the growth of the county's largest town. While the county lost 4,000 residents from 1950 to 1960, Price grew by more than 800 citizens. The city's population climbed from 5,999 to 6,802. By 1970, the population in Price dropped to 6,218.

However, Price's population jumped during the coal energy boom of the 1970s. The number of people residing in the county seat climbed to 9,086 in 1980, a gain of almost 3,000 people and the largest expansion the town had witnessed.

But by 1990, Price's population started to decline and 8,712 people resided in the city. When the 2000 census was taken, the city had decreased in size to 8,402 residents.

Carbon's mining boom and bust cycle has impacted the population figures. However, the numbers are becoming less affected and Carbon's population has remained relatively stable for the last few years.

In 1930, Carbon County's population registered at 17,792 compared to the nation's 122.8 million residents.

In 2000, census data indicate Carbon's population registered at 20,422 while the U.S. had 281.4 million residents.

During the 70-year period, Carbon's population fluctuated and the county posted approximately a 13 percent expansion rate. In contrast, the U.S. population has grown 113 percent.

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