- Census slip?

Early population figures released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau show the city of Seymour’s population fell between 2010 and 2020.

The reported drop is 80 residents.

According to the federal data, which was collected last year, Seymour’s population fell from 1,921 to 1,841 over the past 10 years.

This count is a direct contradiction of the previous U.S. Census Bureau estimates over the past five years that pegged the city’s population each year at more than 2,000, with a high estimate of 2,093 two years ago.

“When I saw that number for Seymour, I found it hard to believe,” Webster County Clerk Stan Whitehurst said Friday.

“The growth in Seymour seems evident, especially over the past few years, both business and residential.”

Seymour isn’t the only Webster County city to lose population, per the 2020 census count.

Fordland’s population dropped from 800 to 778.

In Niangua, the tally fell from 405 to 390.

However, in nearby Diggins, census officials said population jumped from 299 to 305.

Webster County’s two-largest cities saw their population grow substantially, per the census.

Marshfield’s population rose from 6,633 to 7,458.

Rogersville saw its count grow from 3,073 to 3,897.

Both increases are well above 10 percent.

As a whole, Webster County’s population grew slightly, yet far below earlier census estimates.

Per the 2020 census, the county’s population now is at 39,085, up from the 36,202 counted in 2010.

However, previously estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau had said Webster County was as high as the state’s second-fastest-growing county. One estimate from 2017 said the county’s population was around 44,000.

If the 2020 census count holds true, it will be the first time in nearly a century that Seymour’s population has dropped.

Between 1930 and 2010, a total of nine censuses, the city of Seymour’s population grew with every census as the count nearly tripled from 681 in 1930 to 1,921 in 2010.

The last time the city’s population dropped was between 1920 and 1930, when the count went from 751 to 681 at the onset of the Great Depression.

The 2020 census also marks the first time that the city of Seymour has less than 5 percent of Webster County’s population living in its city limits.

Per the newest numbers, 4.95 percent of the county’s residents live in the city of Seymour.

That tally was 5.31 percent in 2010, 5.91 percent in 2000 and 6.95 percent in 1990.

When analyzed, Seymour’s 1,841 residents aren’t racially diverse, with the category of “white alone” comprising 1,776 residents.

The minority population is only 65.

Of that total, 35 are listed as “some other race.” There are nine who are “black or African American,” seven American Indians and five who are “Asian alone.”

The census statistics also reported that the city of Seymour has more than 100 vacant homes.

Occupied homes totaled 749.

The count of vacant homes was 102.

However, the federal count doesn’t match the number of residential utility customers inside Seymour’s city limits, which stands at 841 for electric and 864 for water.

Those figures represent more occupied homes than given in the federal count.

New 2020 U.S. Census Bureau information can be found online at www.data.census.gov

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