Mayors give thoughts on census numbers

Published 4:38 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The 2010 Census revealed growth in every Chilton County municipality—though maybe not as much as some officials expected.

The most significant question surrounding the census was whether Thorsby would gain enough residents to earn the “city” designation. Alas, Thorsby will remain a town, falling 20 residents short of the 2,000 number needed to change status.

“We’re disappointed,” Mayor Dearl Hilyer said. “It wasn’t that it really brought any more value to what we’re doing, other than just the recognition of being a city.

“It puts you in a different competitive spot with grants, but really there is no advantage either way. We were just looking forward to turning the corner.”

Hilyer said he had seen projections that Thorsby would be found to have anywhere from 2,200 to 2,800 residents, but the actual number turned out to be an 8.8 percent increase over the 2000 Census, when the town had 1,820 residents.

Another county municipality that didn’t see the number it expected was Jemison, which grew from 2,248 residents in 2000 to 2,585 in 2010, a 15 percent increase that was the largest in Chilton County.

Still, Jemison Mayor Eddie Reed said the city conducted its own population estimate about three years ago and determined about 3,800 people lived in the city limits.

“I don’t know how that can be so different,” Reed said. “We want our numbers to be higher to attract different things.”

Reed said the census findings are still proof that positive growth is happening in Jemison.

Growing at a similar rate as the county as a whole (10.2 percent population increase) was the county’s largest municipality, Clanton, which went from 7,800 residents to 8,619, an increase of 10.5 percent.

Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver said, that while not a bust, he’s pleased to see the city growing at a rate that can be sustained.

“That’s pretty steady growth, about 100 a year,” Driver said.

Maplesville, Chilton County’s smallest municipality, grew at the smallest rate over the last 10 years, from 672 residents to 708 residents, a 5.4 percent increase.