The Mother Lode’s population continued to decline in new estimates released by the California Department of Finance.

Tuolumne County’s estimated population was 52,790 as of July 1, a loss of 72 residents since 2017. Calaveras County’s estimated population was 44,637, down 19 residents over the same period.

Meanwhile, the department estimated the state added a total of 215,000 people over the same period.

The report stated that inland counties experienced the highest population growth rates, while urban coastal counties grew at a slower pace.

“Smaller counties in more remote areas of California either lost population or grew very little,” the department stated in a new release.

Tuolumne and Calaveras counties have experienced mostly year-over-year decreases in the estimated size of each’s population since July 2010.

Tuolumne County’s estimated population as of July 1 represents a decline of about 4.4 percent since 2010, when the department’s estimate was 55,240.

The only year-over-year increase in Tuolumne County’s estimated population over that period was from July 2012 to July 2013, when it grew by 384 residents before shrinking by 526 residents the following year.

Calaveras County’s estimated population has declined about 2 percent from 45,542 in July 2010.

The last year-over-year increase was between July 2007 and July 2008, when it added 64 residents.

Population estimates are developed using data from several sources, including birth and death rates from the state Department of Public Health, driver’s license data from the Department of Motor Vehicles, housing data from local governments, school enrollment data from the Department of Education, and federal income-tax return data.

The estimates from the state differ from those put out each year by the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey.

This year’s survey released earlier this month pegged Tuolumne County’s population about 53,899 and Calaveras County’s about 45,057, both of which were up by about 30 residents from the previous year.

Preparations will be gearing up in the coming year for the 2020 Census on April 1, 2020.

The Census Bureau has released information about the formation of “community count committees,” or CCCs, that are comprised of a broad spectrum of government and community leaders in hopes of making sure everyone gets counted.

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4530.

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