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NM Brain Drain Continues

NM Brain Drain Continues

New Mexico continues to lose people to other states in a so-called brain drain. In the 12 months that ended July 1, the state's net outmigration totaled 7,111, meaning that many more people left the state than came to it.

Population Growth Stagnates Again

More People Leaving Than Arriving

BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI

New Mexico’s population stagnation continued in the year that ended July 1 as the state’s population grew by 687, or 0.04 percent, according to new sate population estimates from the U.S Census Bureau.

And, New Mexico continues to lose people to other states in a so-called brain drain. In the 12 months that ended July 1, the state’s net outmigration totaled 7,111, meaning that many more people left the state than came to it. According to the Census data, 9,748 people left the state during the year. That was offset by 2,637 people who came here from other countries.

The only reason New Mexico’s population grew was that births far outnumbered deaths.

New Mexico’s dismal population growth rate was the 42nd lowest in the nation, and the lowest in the region. Utah had the nation’s fastest growth rate at 2 percent, or 60,585 people. Arizona and Colorado each grew by 1.7 percent.

If there was any good news in the Census data for New Mexico it was that the population actually grew. The state lost population in 2014 and 2015. And, the loss of people who are fleeing to other states slowed a little. In the year that ended July 1, 2015, New Mexico had a net outmigration of 9,721 people.

The long-term population trend has not been good for New Mexico. Since 2010, the state’s population has increased by 21,817, or 1.1 percent. And in the past six years, the state has had a net outmigration of 37,780 people.

Eight states lost population during the year. They were Connecticut, Illinois, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Wyoming and West Virginia. Illinois had the largest population loss at 37,508.

As of July 1, New Mexico’s population was estimated to be 2,081,015.

Here’s how New Mexico’s population growth for the year ending July 1 compares to other states in the region:

Arizona: +113,506; +1.7 percent

Colorado: +91,726; +1.7 percent

Nevada: +56,300; +2 percent

New Mexico: +687; +0.04 percent

Oklahoma: +16,147; +0.4 percent

Texas: +432,957; +1.6 percent

Utah: +60,585; +2 percent

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.
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  • Pat Duran
    December 24, 2016, 4:23 pm

    Is a deceasing population necessarily a bad thing? Especially considering that the natural resources of the state have never been adequate to a large population. There are limits to the economic benefits of growth, and NM seems like a perfect place to experiment with a sustainable economy, including a static population size.

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Johnny Vizcaino is an editorial intern at ABQ Free Press Weekly.

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