San Juan County population declines in 2020 Census but shows improvement since 2016

The population for the county appears to show an increase since 2016

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • San Juan County showed a decrease of 8,383 people or a 6.4 percent in data released on Aug. 12 by the U.S. Census Bureau for a count of 121,661 people.
  • When the 2016 count is compared to the 2020 census, it shows an increase of 6,582, according to U.S. Census data.
  • The county demographics echoes similar changes for the City of Farmington and nationwide.

FARMINGTON — The data from the 2020 U.S. Census shows that San Juan County lost about 8,300 people in terms of population, but that figure is an improvement over a 2017 report which showed a much larger decrease.

San Juan County showed a decrease of 8,383 people or a 6.4 percent in data released on Aug. 12 by the U.S. Census Bureau for a count of 121,661 people.

San Juan County Commission Chairman John Beckstead told The Daily Times the population decrease didn’t surprise him with loss of jobs at places like the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station.

“Frankly, we expected to see a loss of population, mainly due to the loss of jobs associated with oil and gas,” Beckstead said.

The chairman also shared his concerns about efforts to conduct the 2020 Census in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 Census map:See how New Mexico data changed

John Beckstead

“It appears the hard to count areas of our county contributed to perhaps a larger under count than we expected,” Beckstead said. “These areas suffer from either poor or no internet connection. I think the door to door follow up operations, I think they may have been hampered by COVID.”

Beckstead was unaware of a 2017 Census report which listed San Juan County as one of the top 10 counties in the country for population decline.

The report in March 2017 showed a population of 115,079 on July 1, 2016.

That was compared to a July 1, 2015, count of 118,701 people for decrease of 3,622 people in one year, according to The Daily Times archives.

A Daily Times story in Spring 2017 showed within a five-year period of 2011 to 2016, the county showed a decline of 12,984 people.

2020 census data:Farmington sees very small population increase, decrease in white population

When the 2016 count is compared to the 2020 census, it shows an increase of 6,582 people, according to U.S. Census data.

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“I think that some of the efforts that the county is making, some of the efforts that the (City of Farmington) is making perhaps counteracted some of that,” Beckstead said.

The county's demographics echo similar changes for the City of Farmington and nationwide.

The data shows a decrease of 16,632 people or a 24.8 percent decrease of people who were listed in the white population for San Juan County.

The number of people listed as two or more races greatly increased in growth by 143.8 percent or 6,527 people.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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