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Census shows slight increase in county’s population

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Chilton County has grown by 3.1% in the past 10 years, according to the 2020 Census data that has been recently released.

The census has the county’s population at 45,014, up from 43,643 in the 2010 Census.

Chilton County Commission Chairman Joseph Parnell attributed much of this growth to the county’s location.

“The growth of Birmingham and Montgomery has really influenced the growth of Chilton County because of our location,” Parnell said. “We have been considered somewhat of a bedroom community for those two metropolitan areas. People will move here and commute back and forth and get out of the city life.”

People moving out of Birmingham and Montgomery city limits is reflected in the census numbers. Birmingham saw a 1.5% decrease in population since 2010, going from 212,237 to 200,733. Montgomery also saw a decrease in those living within its city limits from 205,764 in 2010 to 200,603 in 2020.

“We have seen a little bit of increase in local employment numbers, so there have been more jobs in Chilton County recently than there have been historically and that has probably helped contribute some to our growth,” Parnell said.

The number of housing units in the county increased by 160 (.8%) from 2010 to 2020. Much of this has been in the northern portion of the county, Parnell said.

“Some of that is because of the local laws that Shelby County has passed,” Parnell said. “It has pushed a lot of mobile homes into the county on the northern end, and we have seen a tremendous amount of population growth in the northern end of the county. Countywide we are seeing more stick built homes. I think that goes back and is attributed to us providing a good small-town atmosphere for people that live and work in the larger communities that surround us.”

The housing unit vacancy rate for 2020 was reported as 11%.

The population of white residents in Chilton County in 2020 was 78.9% (down from 84.1% in 2010). Black or African American residents made up 9% percent of the population (down from 9.7% in 2010), while Hispanic or Latino residents made up 9.8% of the population (up from 7.8% in 2010).

An increase in population means more funding for the county for schools and from the state gasoline tax revenue. The state portion of funding is based on attendance numbers. Parnell said the formula used to determine what each community receives from the state gasoline tax also uses a percentage of population growth as a factor.

“It will be a very small change,” Parnell said of Chilton County’s revenue increase.

There may also be more grant opportunities for the county because of the increase in population. Parnell said it was hard to determine just what opportunities might open because every grant has different requirements.

Parnell had expected a slightly larger increase, but “I was encouraged to see that we are growing as a community.”

Population increase is a trend Parnell expects to continue.

“I think Chilton County is in an upward trend in growth,” Parnell said. “I think you are going to see a lot more house tops and a lot more jobs here over the next 10 to 15 years.”

Residential building increased this year with at least 44 houses being reported under construction in Clanton alone.