SANTA FE – New census estimates indicate New Mexico gained just 1,747 people in the 12 months that ended in July, putting the state among the bottom for population growth.
The new estimates put New Mexico’s estimated population at 2,085,287, an increase of 0.08 percent, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
Meanwhile, the neighboring states of Utah, Texas, Colorado and Arizona had population growth rates averaging 1.4 percent.
The Census Bureau makes its estimates based on migration patterns, births and deaths.
Jim Peach, an economics professor at New Mexico State University, said New Mexico’s economy has been stagnant recently and that the state had one of the smallest population increases in recent history.
“It’s very small to what we have done historically,” Peach said. “But the other factor is that New Mexico, like the rest of the country, is aging, so we can’t count on higher birthrates like we have in the past.”
Christopher Erickson, an economics professor at NMSU, said New Mexico was not hit as hard by the recession as many other states. “But our recovery has been excruciatingly slow,” he said.
Erickson said it didn’t help that New Mexico depends heavily on federal spending and federal programs for job creation and, since the recession, the federal government has not spent at the same pace it has spent historically.