The latest population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show that DeKalb County has grown at a rate of 5.8% since the year 2000.
Henry Bowman, an analyst of the Upper Cumberland Development District, told WJLE Monday that the 2007 estimates put the DeKalb County population at 18,436. "That compares to 17, 423 in the official 2000 Census which represents a growth of 1,013 people or 5.8%. That's a little below average for the Upper Cumberland Region, but the region's population is affected a lot by Cumberland and Putnam County, which have shown very rapid growth. I would say that DeKalb County's population estimate is a little understated. I suspect the Census will turn up more people than that. Of course, you have a situation in DeKalb County and Cumberland County too, where you have a lot of people who don't live there year round. They may be residents part of the year and not other parts of the year so that makes it a little bit trickier to estimate. Cumberland County is primarily being driven by the retirement communities as far as we can tell, such as Fairfield Glade, Tansi, and places like that. Those populations have been increasing very rapidly and so is the population of the county (Cumberland) as a whole. As a matter of fact, I would guess that it's probably a little more than what they've estimated here."
Bowman added that these are just estimates, not actual numbers, and are compiled by the Census Bureau based on various sources. "They look at several factors. First of all they control it from the top down. They start with the national population and then they estimate the state population, then they estimate the county population. They look at things like Medicare recipients to count the 65 plus population. Then they look at income tax returns to check the number of dependants claimed on those returns to estimate the zero to 64 population. They also look at things like births and deaths, which they have at the county level. Then they crunch all that through a model to come up with the estimates."
Putnam County has the largest population of any county in the Upper Cumberland Region. The 2007 estimate of Putnam's population is 69,916, up by 7,601, or 12.2 percent, from the total of 62,315 recorded in 2000.
Cumberland County's total estimated population in 2007 was 53,040, up by 13.3 percent from 46,802 in 2000.
2007 population estimates for the other Upper Cumberland counties are as follows: Warren, 39,690; White, 24,895; Macon, 21,561; Overton, 20,975; Smith, 18,845; Fentress, 17,420; Cannon, 13,432; Jackson, 10,791; Clay, 7,870; Van Buren, 5,437; Pickett, 4,762.
The region's total population as of 2007 is estimated at 327,070, up by 22,072, or 7.2 percent, since 2000.
The next official Census will be conducted in the year 2010.