* Lincoln County 3rd in the state for growth, despite population decreases in Kemmerer.
The results of the 2020 census have been made public and, as expected, Star Valley saw growth in all communities, especially in Alpine and Star Valley Ranch. The population increase results in an 8.1% jump, or an increase of 1,475 residents, county wide from 2010 to 2020, offsetting population decreases in south Lincoln County over the same time period.
Alpine led the way with 392 new residents, an increase of 47.3% over the last decade, to a total of 1,220. Star Valley Ranch was not far behind with 363 new residents counted, an increase of 24.2%, giving the community 1,866. Afton remains the largest community in the valley based on population, with an increase of 261 residents, a 13.7% increase, equalling a total of 2,172. The Town of Thayne saw a modest increase of 3.8%, up 14 residents, for a total of 380.
“The interesting thing is these numbers were counted in April of 2020,” stated Lincoln County Commissioner Robert King. “There’s been a great deal of growth from April of 2020 until now. I think that our numbers are probably higher in growth.” Commissioner King went on to explain that the Town of Star Valley Ranch has had roughly 30 home starts just this year.
In a stark contrast, communities in southern Lincoln County all experienced a decline in growth. Kemmerer remains the largest town with a population of 2,415, but that is a drop of 9.1% from the 2,656 counted in 2010. Cokeville, Diamondville, LaBarge and Opal also saw decreases in population when compared to the 2010 census.
“A lot of that’s due to the mine and maybe the power plant too,” said King. “But, I think we’ve got some things going on. Of course we’re talking about the nuclear plant, which is looking at permanent employees of about 250. And we’ve been working with another company that’s moving forward, Tricite, that basically is coal to products, which will eventually get up to about 500 employees if they can get that thing off the ground. We’re hoping within the next couple of years we’ll know for sure where that’s headed.”
When asked what these numbers mean for Lincoln County and it’s communities, King responded by saying “It does mean a bigger cut of the pie when it comes to property taxes. Of course we’ll see an increase in sales tax revenue.” King also commented on the increase of drivers and vehicles on roads but also a better business environment with a higher population.
Lincoln County’s overall population increase was the third largest in the state, behind Teton and Laramie counties which both saw a 9.6% boost in population. Sublette County reported the largest decrease in population of 14.8%. 14 of the 23 counties in the state decreased in population from 2010 to 2020.
Statewide, Wyoming increased 13,225 residents, up 2.3 percent. The state now has 576,851 people. The Cowboy state remains the least populated state in the nation, behind Vermont’s 643,011 residents.
Complete census data can be found at census.gov.