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Popular beach city leads state in population loss

Siseta Key is an outlier for the state, and region.

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  • | 2:10 p.m. July 21, 2021
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The Florida growth story, at least in one tiny part of the state, has taken a dent: Siesta Key, the unincorporated community off Sarasota with the globally-known beach, has the fastest-shrinking population in the state, according to a report from 24/7 Wall Street and the Center Square. The report analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data.

Home to some 5,570 people, Siesta Key's population declined by -15.2% from 2010 to 2019. Meanwhile, Florida's population expanded by 12.9% over the same period, the report shows.

The report looked at five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. All cities, towns, villages, boroughs and census designated places with populations of at least 1,000 and where the margin of error for the population was less than 10% were considered, according to a statement. 

The report points out that in general, despite some states handling an influx of people (like Florida) cities and towns nationwide have reported rapid population declines. The U.S. population, for example, grew 0.35% between July 2019 and July 2020 — the smallest annual growth rate in well over a century. The decline, the report posits, stems in part from restrictions on immigration and a declining birth rate, and it could stunt economic growth.

The -15.2% drop in Siesta Key was about average for the country. The population of Watonga, Oklahoma, about 70 miles northwest of Oklahoma City, declined -43.9% in the decade the report shows, good for steepest decline in the country. The town with the No. 2 decline, at -42.7%, is Druid Hills, Georgia, which is partially in Atlanta, partially in DeKalb County and home to Emory University. Warwick, Rhode Island, with a -3.2% drop, showed the slightest nationwide decline.


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