The population of San Marcos within the city limits is still greater than Kyle and Buda’s combined population (see chart). But the two corridor cities now outpace the county seat in total population when nearby unincorporated areas are included in the figures.
|City of Hays||233||217||-6.86|
|Hays County total||97,589||157,107||60.99|
» SEE ALSO | The List: Central Texas city census comparison
SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau
*NOTE : Wimberley was unincorporated in 2000
UPDATED 4:23 p.m. FEB. 22:
Mayor Daniel Guerrero, who before his election chaired the city’s Complete Count committee, said in a written statement, “We are surprised at the number when compared to our own calculations and the projections given to us by the Census Bureau and other agencies that monitor population counts. We will analyze the results to see how they arrived at this figure and to determine the impact on our community. We want to be proactive in our response since Census numbers will play a critical role in planning for our future as well as in regional planning over the next ten years.”
After the Mercury’s story was posted this afternoon, the city of San Marcos spokesperson sent the following statement:
San Marcos has a 2010 population of 44,894 with 18,179 housing units, a 29.25% increase over 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The count is nearly 10,000 fewer people than projected by the Census Bureau, Texas State Data Center, and city planners in recent years.
San Marcos’s official population in 2000 was 34,733. Since then, population estimates by the City Development Services Department grew to 44,769 in 2004, to 47,069 in 2006, to 50,371 in 2008, and the most recent estimate of 53,023 on January 1, 2011. The Census Bureau’s own estimates showed San Marcos population numbers of 45,059 in 2004; 48,443 in 2006; 52,233 in 2008 and 53,205 in 2009.
The Texas State Data Center estimated a population of 55,678 in July 2009 and 56,563 in January 2010.
The city has based its estimates on the number of single and multi-family housing units, persons per household, occupancy rates and addition of territory to the city limits. Texas State University students living both on and off campus in San Marcos are counted as part of the local population in both the census count and the city estimates.
“We will review the numbers and determine what impact being under 50,000 people might have on our programs,” City Manager Jim Nuse said. “50,000 is a tipping point for a variety of grant programs and regulatory requirements for cities.”
THE ORIGINAL STORY:
by JENNIFER BIUNDO
The landscape of Hays County along the Interstate 35 corridor has shifted dramatically in the last decade, as thousands of new homes sprang out of rural cow pastures like bluebonnets after the first spring rain.
Long-awaited data released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau finally puts hard numbers on that staggering growth. Between 2000 and 2010, Hays County’s population grew from less than 100,000 to 157,000, an increase of almost 61 percent.
Reflecting the demographic shifts of the nation as a whole, that growth was clustered around the transit artery of Interstate 35, as commuters sought affordable suburban homes that still allowed them relatively quick access to Austin jobs.
Nowhere were the changes more seismic than the city of Kyle, which added 22,702 new residents onto the original township of 5,300, a growth rate of 427 percent, for a total population of 28,016.
For city leaders, the sudden influx represented both opportunities and deep challenges throughout the last decade. Those new residents placed extraordinary demands on a system of infrastructure – roads, water supply, wastewater lines – designed to accommodate a sleepy ranching community, rather than a suburban boom town.
En route to Austin jobs, thousands of new commuters steered their cars out of freshly-poured driveways in subdivisions such as Plum Creek and Steeplechase, and onto a street grid built around the twisting property lines of defunct farms. Early in the decade, realizing that they wouldn’t have the water to supply all the new homes already in the pipeline, councilmembers frantically enacted a moratorium on new development.
The city of Buda also saw tremendous growth. In 2000, with a population of 2,404, an established resident could feasibly expect to recognize most of the faces in line at the post office or Buda Grocery. By 2010, the city’s population had increased by more than 200 percent to 7,295, with many of the new residents buying freshly-built homes in subdivisions like Cullen Country and Garlic Greek.
The regional population of the combined Buda-Kyle area now outnumbers the county seat by almost 11,000. San Marcos grew nearly 30 percent in the last decade, reaching a population of almost 44,894. The city has been claiming 50,000 residents since July 2007 and a figure to that effect even appears on city limits signs.
Nevertheless, San Marcos maintains a comfortable population lead of nearly 10,000 over Buda and Kyle combined – at least within city limits.
However, the Buda and Kyle Census County Division (CCD) — a measurement that includes residents outside of the boundaries of the two municipalities in neighborhoods such as Green Pastures to the east and Ruby Ranch to the west — hit 66,181 in 2010, more than double the 2000 CCD population of 29,000.
Meanwhile, the San Marcos CCD — an area that includes unincorporated Willow Creek, large residential areas off Lime Kiln and Hilliard roads other outlying neighborhoods in addition the city limits — grew from 45,209 in 2000 to 55,314 in 2010. The city of San Marcos proper showed a 2010 population of 44,894 compared to 34,733, a 29.25 percent growth rate.
Within city limits, Dripping Springs saw just 15 percent growth, adding 240 residents for a total population of 1,788. Wimberley, which wasn’t incorporated during the 2000 census, finished the decade at 2,626 residents.
However, the combined population of the Dripping Springs-Wimberley CCD experienced growth of nearly 50 percent, with more than 12,500 new residents bringing the total regional population to 35,612.
The city of Uhland grew 162 percent, from 386 to just over 1,000. However, some of the other small municipalities within Hays County saw a slight decrease over the last decade. Mountain City and Niederwald both shed about three percent of their population, losing 23 and 19 residents, respectively, while the City of Hays lost 16 residents, for a decrease of almost seven percent.
Empty nests may be to blame for the declines – the three small towns have some of the smallest proportions of residents under the age of 18.
Just 14 percent of residents in the college town of San Marcos were under the age of 18, the smallest proportion in the county.
Meanwhile, the fastest growing communities of Buda and Kyle are also some of the youngest, as families with young children turned to the affordable starter homes of northeastern Hays County. More than one-third of Kyle’s residents are under the age of 18, compared to about 25 percent in the county as a whole and 27 percent in the state.
In the last decade, those children have swarmed into the Hays Consolidated Independent School District, more than doubling the student population from about 7,000 to nearly 16,000 and resulting in a flurry of new school construction funded by bond debt. Though growth slowed slightly through the recession years, current projections show that the district will exceed 20,000 students midway through the decade, said Superintendent Jeremy Lyon.
“It is dependent on the economy, but you’ve got a significant number of homebuilders who want to build here and open new subdivisions,” Lyon said. “Just as soon as they can, they will start building those homes and the families will continue to come to the school district.”Email | Print