WONKY POPULATION ARTICLE: Is Milledgeville a "dying town?"
2104 marked a milestone in Baldwin County.
A bad one.
For the first time since lord knows when, the number of "deaths" in Baldwin County actually outnumbered number of "births," according to state data.
HOW DOES THE STATE ASSIGN DEATHS AND BIRTHS TO THE CORRECT COUNTY?
The county of "birth," according to the Georgia Department of Health's methodology, is based on the birthing mother's "county of residence." The county of "death, meanwhile, is based on the deceased's "county of residence."
The negative trend has continued since 2014, with the disparity really accelerating since the pandemic. In 2021, there were 639 deaths in Baldwin County compared to 380 births, a very large difference for a county of 43,000 people.
This trend is occurring in rural counties throughout Georgia, where young people aren't having as many children as past decades, while simultaneously the citizenry is getting older, largely a product of the baby boomer generation. Factor in a changing economy, less focused on farming and factories, and what you have is a declining population in most of rural Georgia, including Baldwin County.
That said, it was no surprise when Baldwin County lost population in the 2020 Census, when compared to the 2010 Census. Not since 1840 had this occurred in Baldwin County. Yes, 1840.
Demographics is an entire field of study in social science. At its core, however, it's simple. There are exactly three ways that a county can lose population and get smaller:
A) Have more deaths than births
B) More people move out of the county than move into the county
C) some combination of A and B
Unless "B" improves and there's a larger net migration into Baldwin County in the future, what you'll have is a population that continues to shrink and grow older, as well as an economy and a tax base that remains stagnant.
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