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          Front Page




2,000,000: State Population Milestone Puts Us in the Bigger Time

By Leslie Linthicum
Copyright 2007 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Staff Writer
    If it's feeling slightly more crowded around here lately, there is a statistical explanation: Our population has finally topped 2 million.
    We've been growing at a rate of about 2 percent a year— or about 117 people a day, according to Adélamar Alcántara, the senior demographer at UNM's Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of New Mexico.
    And, while no one was watching, she says the state's odometer quietly rolled past 2 million last year.
    The U.S. Census Bureau doesn't have us reaching the 2 millionth mark until next year, but UNM's estimate is considered a more accurate measure of population changes in the state.
    So, it's unofficially official: We're no longer a member of the Really Little States Club.
    Relatively speaking, we're now about the size of four Wyomings. Or two Rhode Islands. But we're still only about as big as the city of Houston and about one-quarter the size of the Big Apple.
    So, who was the 2 millionth New Mexican? Was there a celebration when this person entered the Land of Enchantment through the birth canal or trailing a U-Haul? Did he or she get a T-shirt?
    "We are not counting actual people," Alcántara emphasizes. "This is an estimate."
    But using growth rates, Alcántara can pinpoint the day the state hit 2 million. It was April 11, 2006.
    BY THE NUMBERS
    80 Births per day on average
    40 Deaths per day on average
    77 Average daily gain through people moving in and moving out
    117 How much New Mexico's population grows each day
    4.11.06 Day we hit 2 million