DeKalb County's population is up by 7.3% since the last official census in 2000.
The latest U.S. Census Bureau calculations show that the 2008 estimated population of DeKalb County is 18,694, up from 17,423 in 2000.
Henry Bowman, analyst of the Upper Cumberland Development District says this rate of growth in DeKalb County is "fairly typical for a small Upper Cumberland County."
Bowman says the Census Bureau will release more estimates later in the year on population by race, Hispanic origin, and age. " I can understand how they determine the age, but I don't see how they can come up with a reasonable estimate in the local area for the Hispanic population, but we suspect it's increasing although there is some evidence that the rate of growth, at least nationwide has slowed down because of the economic slowdown. When they do issue the estimates by age group, they will have a pretty good handle on the age 65 plus population and how it's changed because they use Medicare records to estimate that. And in places like DeKalb County, there's a good bit of seasonal housing I suspect because of the lake development. Some people don't really live there (DeKalb County) year round. They are here parts of the year and not here other parts of the year. We certainly see that in a major way in Cumberland County. So a lot of this depends on the time of year that these population estimates are made or do the census either for that matter."
Although the next official census is not until 2010, Bowman says population estimates are made regularly based on Medicare records and exemptions on personal income tax returns. "They divide it into two population groups, those age 65 and over and those under age 65. For those 65 and over, they use Medicare records and that's practically universal. You should be able to get a good handle on that. For those who are under 65, they look at exemptions claimed on personal income tax returns"
Most counties in the Upper Cumberland realized population gains since 2000, but Bowman said a few of the more rural counties actually showed a decline in population. But, because those counties may have been more affected by the downturn in the economy, the population estimates there may not be totally accurate. " When to the extent that job losses in a given county exceed the national average, it tends to understate the population growth because people aren't required to file income tax returns who may have been in the past because they have lost income and no longer have to file so there's a little downward bias there in counties that have been hard hit by economic slowdown. That seems to be the case with counties in the Upper Cumberland that are showing a population decline, Clay and Jackson in particular, Van Buren to a lesser extent, and Pickett. I know there have been major job losses in those counties so that may be a factor but we don't really have any way of knowing for sure."
Meanwhile, the latest estimates, based on 2008 data, for the other Upper Cumberland counties are as follows:
* Cannon, 13,804, up from 12,826 in 2000; Clay, 7,794, down slightly from the 7,976 counted in 2000; Cumberland, 53,590, up from 46,802. DeKalb, 18,694, up from 17,423 in 2000; Fentress, 17,667, up from 16,625 in 2000; Jackson, 10,847, down slightly from 10,984 in 2000;
* Macon, 21,836, up from 20,386 in 2000; Overton, 20,975, up from 20,118; Pickett, 4,801, down slightly from 4,945 in 2000; Putnam, 71,160, up from 62,315; Smith, 19,107, up from 17,712; Van Buren, 5,481, down slightly from 5,508; Warren, 39,842, up from 38,276; White, 25,129, up from 23,102.
The total population of the Upper Cumberland region as of 2008 was estimated at 330,729, up from the 304,998 recorded at the 2000 census.