Population rises in metro areas; U.S. representatives allocated to Arkansas unchanged, 2020 Census data shows

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 2,863 views 

Population trends in Arkansas have remained the same in recent years at least through the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a state demographer said Thursday (Aug. 12). Meanwhile, the number of U.S. representatives apportioned to the state will remain at four, unchanged from the 2010 Census.

The U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday (Aug. 12) the 2020 Census population numbers in the 2020 Redistricting Data that show the largest metro areas in the state continue to grow. While the numbers won’t be available at data.census.gov until Sept. 30, the Arkansas Economic Development Institute created a website to access the data for cities, counties and the state. It also compiled metro area data released to Talk Business & Politics.

Diego Caraballo Orozco, demographer for the Arkansas Economic Development Institute, said barring court cases that could affect the numbers, these are the final numbers for the 2020 Census. However, he doesn’t expect the numbers to be altered. The numbers reflect the population as of April 1, 2020.

The population of Arkansas has increased by 3.3% to 3.01 million in 2020, from 2.91 million in 2010. However, the population is down by nearly 6,300 people from the July 1, 2019, estimate.

Each year between censuses, the Census Bureau releases population estimates. The most recent population estimate, which was released in 2020, was for the population as of July 1, 2019. Caraballo Orozco said the past decade of estimates might be revised based on the 2020 Census numbers. He was uncertain when the revisions might take place.

The trends in population changes for Arkansas remained the same broadly, he noted. Metro areas, such as Northwest Arkansas, have continued to grow, while the population declines in areas in south and east Arkansas, he explained.

The population of Northwest Arkansas, or the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers metro area, increased by 24.2% to 546,725 in 2020, from 440,121 in 2010. Over the same period, the population of the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway metro area, the most populous in the state, rose by 6.8% to 748,031, from 699,757.

Benton County’s population increased by 28.4% to 284,333 in 2020, from 221,339 in 2010. Over the same period, the population of Pulaski County, the largest in the state, increased by 4.2% to 399,125, from 382,748. Washington County’s population rose by 21% to 245,871, from 203,065.

Fayetteville’s population was up by 27.6% to 93,949 in 2020, from 73,580 in 2010, and has become the second-most populous city in the state. Over the same period, Fort Smith’s population increased by 3.4% to 89,142, from 86,209. Meanwhile, Bentonville’s population has increased by 53.4% to 54,164, from 35,301.

State lawmakers and the Arkansas Board of Apportionment will use these Census numbers to redraw Congressional and legislative district lines later this year.

The following comprises 2010 and 2020 Census data and the 2019 estimate:

Arkansas
2010: 2,915,918
2019: 3,017,804
2020: 3,011,524

MSAs
* Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers (Northwest Arkansas) metro area
2010: 440,121
2019: 536,120
2020: 546,725

* Fort Smith metro area:
2010: 248,208
2019: 249,152
2020: 244,310

Jonesboro metro area:
2010: 121,026
2019: 133,860
2020: 134,196

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway metro area:
2010: 699,757
2019: 744,438
2020: 748,031

COUNTIES
Benton County
2010: 221,339
2019: 279,141
2020: 284,333

Craighead County
2010: 96,443
2019: 110,332
2020: 111,231

Faulkner County
2010: 113,237
2019: 126,007
2020: 123,498

Pulaski County
2010: 382,748
2019: 391,911
2020: 399,125

Saline County
2010: 107,118
2019: 122,437
2020: 123,416

Sebastian County
2010: 125,744
2019: 127,827
2020: 127,799

Washington County
2010: 203,065
2019: 239,187
2020: 245,871

CITIES
Bentonville
2010: 35,301
2019: 49,467
2020: 54,164

Conway
2010: 58,908
2019: 66,127
2020: 64,134

Fayetteville
2010: 73,580
2019: 87,585
2020: 93,949

Fort Smith
2010: 86,209
2019: 87,895
2020: 89,142

Jonesboro
2010: 67,263
2019: 78,380
2020: 78,576

Little Rock
2010: 193,524
2019: 197,318
2020: 202,591

North Little Rock
2010: 62,304
2019: 65,889
2020: 64,591

Rogers
2010: 55,964
2019: 68,674
2020: 69,908

Springdale
2010: 69,797
2019: 80,454
2020: 84,161

*Note: Since the 2010 Census, the counties changed that are counted for the metro area. For the Fort Smith metro, Le Flore County, Okla., was removed and Franklin County was added. For the Northwest Arkansas metro, McDonald County, Mo., was removed. For apples to apples comparison, the 2010 population reflects the counties that comprise the metro areas for the 2020 Census.