Census shows V.I.'s population down 2%

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ST. THOMAS - The territory's population has decreased by 2 percent in a decade, according to the 2010 Census data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday.

The population of the U.S. Virgin Islands stands at 106,405, compared with 108,612 residents recorded during the 2000 Census.

The new census data also shows the population on St. Thomas is growing, while the number of residents on St. John and St. Croix is declining.

The Census is a confidential survey conducted every 10 years that is used to determine population and gather information about the residents of each state and territory of the United States. The survey counts all people: citizens, immigrants, undocumented and homeless people, all ethnic groups and all ages.

It collects a wide range of information about the residents of the territory on a certain day - April 1 - to give a snapshot of the country at one moment in time.

The data released Wednesday details only population statistics. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, additional information collected during the 2010 Census - demographics and social and economic data - will be released next year.

The increasing St. Thomas population means the gap is widening between the districts. The St. Thomas-St. John District had 2,144 more people than the St. Croix District a decade ago. In 2010, the St. Thomas-St. John District had 5,203 more people than St. Croix.

The 2010 Census also tracked population changes by geographic areas on each island, showing some interesting trends. The population maps provided by the U.S. Census Bureau broke each island into large subdistricts, or regions.

With the exception of Frederiksted, the data show that people are moving out of the towns. Christiansted and Charlotte Amalie lost population between 2000 and 2010. Christiansted saw 204 people leave and Charlotte Amalie lost 650 residents.

On St. Croix, about 127 more people are living in Frederiksted than there were 10 years ago. The only other area of St. Croix where the population increased was the East End subdistrict, which saw 112 new residents. The total population count for St. Croix is 50,601, which is 2,633 less than in 2000. The total loss in population was evenly distributed among the other subdistricts of the island.

The East End and the North Side of St. Thomas gained significant populations - 731 more residents on the East End and 1,337 additional residents on the North Side compared with 2000. Water Island, which is considered a subdistrict of St. Thomas, gained 21 new residents. The western end of St. Thomas picked up 183 new residents.

The Tutu subdistrict, which always has been a dense residential section of St. Thomas, lost 1,330 residents during the decade.

The total population count for St. Thomas is 51,634.

St. John - with a population of 4,170 - lost only 27 residents in the course of 10 years. Population rose slightly in the Central subdistrict, with 33 new residents.

The decrease in population in the U.S. Virgin Islands may be part of a larger trend among the other U.S. territories. American Samoa, with a population of 55,519, lost 3.1 percent of its population. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has 53,883 residents, which is a 22.2 percent decline, according to the census.

Guam, the largest U.S. territory excluding Puerto Rico, was the only protectorate with an increased population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Guam has 159,358 residents, which is a 2.9 percent increase in population.

The data gathered through the Census directly impacts the amount of federal funding and federal services the territory receives. It also helps with the development of future government policies and planning.

Population counts for the 50 states were released in December because the census data are used for determining the voting districts in the U.S. House of Representatives. Because the territories do not have voting members of Congress, the data are calculated later.

The territories' data also take longer to compile because the territories use the long form, not the 10-question form used in the 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

The territories' form has more questions because those residents do not participate in the American Community Survey, which is similar to a mini Census that updates data every year using a sample of households. The U.S. Virgin Islands cannot conduct the supplemental survey because it does not have a street address system.

The University of the Virgin Islands was given $11.2 million to conduct the 2010 Census.

The U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday that the population data was forwarded to Gov. John deJongh Jr.

For more U.S. Census data about the Virgin Islands population, visit http://2010.census.gov/news/ releases/operations/cb11-cn180.html

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 774-7882 ext. 311 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.Total population

of the U.S. Virgin Islands

1930 - 22,012

1940 - 24,889

1950 - 26,665

1960 - 32,099

1970 - 62,468

1980 - 96,591

1990 - 101,809

2000 - 108,612

2010 - 106,405

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