DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) -- Baldwin County has retained its title as Alabama’s fastest-growing co…
Population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau offer fresh confirmation of what by now is a well-known story – Baldwin County is growing like gangbusters.
County-level estimates released last month showed that Baldwin continues to be Alabama’s fastest-growing county. The latest figures, which offer a look at cities and towns, indicate that Baldwin has four of the state’s eight fastest-growing municipalities and eight of the top 20.
All 14 cities and towns have grown by double-digit percentages since the last official census in 2010.
The city of Mobile, meanwhile, continued a long-running trend of decline. It remains Alabama’s fourth-biggest city with 189,572 residents. But it shrank by a half-percent between July 1, 2017, and July 1 last year. Overall, it has declined by 5,539 people since 2010.
Mobile County’s fastest-growing city is its newest, Semmes. It was not even incorporated during the last census, but its population has increased 26.3 percent since 2011. Saraland, Dauphin Island and Creola have added residents since 2010. The other municipalities are shrinking, led by Prichard, where the population has dropped by 5 percent since the start of the decade.
Baldwin’s fastest-growing city since 2010 is Summerdale, which has jumped from 862 in 2010 to 1,511 in the most recent estimate – a 75 percent increase. That’s good for third in Alabama.
Mayor David Wilson said a growing town means more opportunities for business.
“It also opens up opportunities for us to be able to receive grants so we can do improvements,” he said.
Wilson said the town, situated along Alabama 59 and extending to just west of the Baldwin Beach Express, has annexed territory over the past several years. But most of it is farmland, he added; the vast majority of the population increase has been organic.
But Wilson said it is not a surprise. Summerdale is a quiet community with little crime, he said.
And the mayor added that the town has spent years upgrading zoning to prevent high-density development and has made sure adequate utilities are in place.
“We are pretty much poised and ready for the growth,” he said.
Fairhope is Alabama’s fastest-growing city with at least 10,000 residents. It had 22,085 people in the latest estimate – a 41.2 percent increase since 2010.
Even that frenetic pace underestimates the impact on city services, Mayor Karin Wilson told FOX10 News via text message. That does not count the unincorporated areas around the city that also are surging.
“Our challenge continues to be managing unprecedented growth with the quality of service citizens expect while making sure the growth is in line with who are,” she wrote. “This figure also reminds us of the critical infrastructure needed to catch up with the growth since 2010 and the importance of making sure the 2020 Census is accurate so we can plan accordingly.”
As for Summerdale, the mayor said he is not worried that all the newcomers will cause it to lose its small-town feel.
“We just have that quaint feel,” he said. “We don’t boast, but we’re proud.”