Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

The California Department of Finance last week released its latest population estimates for the state's cities and counties, showing small decreases in Tuolumne, Calaveras and Alpine counties.

The numbers reflect a continued trend of rural counties losing population - blamed largely on a lack of economic opportunities.

Tuolumne County has an estimated population of 53,604, a drop in 68 residents from 2013, the department said.

The county's population is down about 3 percent from 2010 census numbers.

The City of Sonora's population is actually up slightly, with five new estimated residents in the city totaling 4,789, according to the state data. Sonora's estimated population is down from 2010's census estimate of 4,903.

For the complete story, see the May 5, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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