Census shows fewer people in bi-county area

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Monett grows while most other towns decline

The U.S. Census has released population figures for Barry and Lawrence counties from the 2020 count, reflecting number shifts at both the municipal and county levels.

The city of Monett saw a modest population increase, but not enough to alter the city government, which would move from a three-member city commission to five if the 10,000 person threshold is passed. The new population count for the city limits signs will be 9,567, up 694 people from 2010, an 8 percent increase. The city saw a 20 percent rise between 2000 and 2010 counts.

Somewhat surprisingly, Aurora, which has held very close to Monett’s tally, dropped to 7,219, down 289, or 4 percent, eating up more than half of the 7 percent gain between 2000 and 2010.

The third-largest bi-county population center in Mt. Vernon tallied 4,526 people, a drop of 26 people, or 1 percent, after gaining 558 people, or 14 percent, between 2000 and 2010, which was the largest local municipal growth in the past two decades outside of Monett.

Cassville, the fourth largest bi-county population center, also declined with a tally of 3,190, less 76 people, or 2 percent, following a 13 percent rise between 2000 and 2010 that boosted the count by 376.

Other towns in Barry County reflected declines in the latest tally except for Shell Knob:

• Butterfield, 378, down 92, or 20 percent, back down lower than the 2000 count of 397.

• Exeter, 733, dropped 39, or 5 percent, after rising 9 percent between 2000 and 2010.

• Purdy, 1,031, dropped 67 people, or 6 percent, after only losing five people between 2000 and 2010.

• Seligman, 813, down 38, or 4.5 percent, continued a decline that first showed in 2000, though the city remains well above the 1990 count of 593.

• Washburn, 407, down 28, or 6 percent, following a 24 percent rise between 2000 and 2010 and a 25 percent hike between 1980 and 1990.

• Wheaton, 672, down 24 people, or 3 percent, dropping back to one person less than the 2000 count. That city’s tally has remained rather steady after rising to 637 by 1990.

• Shell Knob, listed as a “census designated place,” not a village, town or city, had 1,254 residents, up 208 people or 20 percent.

• Arrow Point village, 75 people, down 11 from 2010.

• Chain-O-Lakes village, 106 people, down 20 or 16 percent from 2010.

• Eagle Rock census designated place, 193, down six from 2010.

• Golden census designated place, 275 people, down five from 2010.

The municipal declines cumulatively impacted the Barry County total of 34,534, a drop of 1,063, or 3 percent. That erased two-thirds of the gains between 2000 and 2010 after steady rises between 1980 and 2000.

Lawrence County cities also showed mixed results but not as severe as in Barry County.

• Pierce City, 1,251, reflected a drop of 40 people, or 3 percent, from 2010, when the impact of the 2003 tornado reducing the city’s housing stock first showed up. Pierce City’s count has dropped progressively from a high point of 1,391 in 1980.

• Marionville, 2,054, down 170, or 8 percent, from 2010, dropping the city below its 2000 count of 2,112 after a rally by 2010.

• Miller, 704, gained five people from 2010, slightly putting the brakes on declines that have continued since a high point of 795 in 1980.

• Verona, 507, saw a drop of 112 people, or 18 percent. That’s down from a high of 714 in 2000 to the lowest point in 40 years.

• Freistatt, 179, recorded a gain of 16 people, up almost 10 percent. That placed the village at very close to the 2000 count of 184, representing a 40-year high.

• Stotts City, 167, down 53 people, or 24 percent, had the biggest percentage decline of any bi-county community, setting a 40-year low under the 1980 mark of 232.

• Hoberg village, 48 people, down eight or 14 percent from 2010.

Lawrence County ended up with 38,001 people, down 633 from 2010, after a jump of 3,430 people between 2000 and 2010.

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