Population estimates show Milam growth at 2 percent

While state, cities show jumps, rural Texas struggles to keep from losing population
Reporter Publisher

State demographers have backed off projections of near double-digit growth for Milam County and put growth at just two percent over the past decade.

The “Estimates of Populations” reports for cities and counties released each summer by the Texas State Data Center at the University of Texas-San Antonio shows what is a continuing trend—the population shift from rural Texas to metropolitan areas.

And while the Central Texas region as a whole has shown growth, most has come from in Williamson and Bell counties with their larger cities.

The state as a whole was estimated to have seen 19-percent population growth since the 2000 federal census.

Bell County, which includes booming Temple, showed 20 percent growth. Williamson County is estimated to have seen a whopping 64-percent growth in population, often cited as one of the fastest-growing areas in the nation.

And while a few from these population centers have sought a life out in the country, growth was modest in most areas and a few neighboring counties are estimated to have lost population.

Demographer Dr. Karl Eschbach’s estimates put Rockdale at 5,920, showing a nine-percent population gain since the 2000 census count.

Eschbach pulled off previous estimates from former State Demographer Steve Murdoch which reached a high of 6,130 in 2007—the first time over the 6,000 mark since the town’s short-lived boomlet when Alcoa’s Operations was being constructed in the 1950s. The numbers would not reflect much loss from the closure of the plant, which was announced in September 2008.

Rockdale’s census count in 2000 was 5,439, which County Judge Frank Summers said was probably low.

The report put Milam County at 24,628, growing by 390 residents since the 2000 census count of 24,238.

Growth percentage

While Rockdale’s addition of 481 people in the past five years wouldn’t even be felt in a large city, its percentage of growth is at nine percent, meaning it fared better than many. Thrall and Taylor had more as a percentage of growth, but few others in the area showed growth.

Neighboring Hearne is estimated to have lost three percent of its population.

Falls County estimates show a drop of 10 percent.

The estimates also saw the city of Cameron at flat growth, losing an estimated five residents. Previous estimates also showed the Milam County seat at over 6,000.


Eschbach uses slightly different methods for his calculations than the U.S. Census.

They rely on births, deaths, elementary school enrollment, vehicle and voter registrations,adding in migration of the school-age population and elderly institutional populations; and housing units.

(Released summer 2010)
2000 Jan. 1, 2009 Number Percent
Milam Cities Change Census Estimate Change
Rockdale 5,439 5,920 481 9%
Cameron 5,634 5,629 -5 0%
Thorndale 1,278 1,308 30 2%
Milano 400 410 10 3%
Buckholts 387 395 8 2%
Neighboring Cities
Caldwell 3,449 3,702 253 7%
Giddings 5,105 5,368 263 5%
Hearne 4,690 4,550 -140 -3%
Lexington 1,178 1,225 47 4%
Taylor 13,575 16,105 2,520 19%
Thrall 710 919 209 29%
Milam and Surrounding Counties
Milam 24,238 24,628 390 2%
Bell 237,974 285,787 47,813 20%
Burleson 16,470 16,570 100 1%
Falls 18,576 16,782 -1,794 -10%
Lee 15,657 16,231 574 4%
Robertson 16,000 15,706 -294 -2%
Williamson 249,967 410,686 160,719 64%

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