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Fewer people are living in Catawba in 2010 than were living in the town 10 years ago.
Catawba residents number 603, based on 2010 census data. That number decreased from 698 in 2000, when the last census was taken.
The 13.6 percent estimated population decrease means Catawba isn't growing at the rate officials predicted.
"We didn't quite meet the state's estimated growth rate," Catawba Town Manager Brian Barnett told residents and council members March 7 during his manager's report at council's monthly meeting.
Barnett said although 95 seems like a big loss, the decrease in population occurred during a 10-year period. That averages to a loss of slightly more than nine residents a year.
"We probably lost some of those people due to natural causes," Barnett said. "We do tend to have an older population."
Councilman Jeff Isenhour, however, said that loss can't be entirely attributed to the town's aging population. He said Catawba has a younger population than what some people think.
Catawba Mayor Vance Readling wondered if the count was accurate, because he said a census worker never came to his house.
About 75 percent of residents in the town of Catawba participated in the census, according to U.S. census data.
Although Catawba saw a population decrease, Catawba County, as a whole, experienced an increase. The county's population increased by 8.9 percent to 154,358, which is up from 141,685 residents in 2000.
Catawba County has seen an increase in its population every year since 1960, according to the U.S. census website.
About 79 percent of Catawba County residents participated in the census, which is four points higher than the national participation rate.
Government data report that the number of people in Catawba County participating in the census also increased from the 2000 to 2010.
Seventy-four percent of the county's population responded to the census in 2000, and that percentage increased to 79 percent in 2010.
North Carolina also experienced an overall increase in population, according to U.S. census data. The state's latest population totals 9,535,483, which increased 18.5 percent since the 2010 census. Like Catawba County, North Carolina experienced steady population growth in past census counts, which report the state had double-digit population growth in every census since 1910.
2010 state population by race:
White 68.5 percent
Black 21.5 percent
American Indian 1.3 percent
Asian 2.2 percent
Two or more races 2.2 percent
Other races 4.3 percent
Native Hawaiian 0.1 percent
For more information about 2010 census reports from other Catawba County municipalities, see upcoming editions of The O-N-E.