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Population continues to fall in Poconos

Slow but steady population declines continue in Monroe and Pike counties, according to recent U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

The population of Pike County has gotten older while Monroe County remains one of the most ethnically and racially diverse counties in Pennsylvania.

Monroe's estimated population as of July 2013 was 167,148. This compares with the 169,842 residents in the 2010 Census head count, culminating a decade of being among the three fastest-growing counties in Pennsylvania.

It's been a reversal since then.

Monroe County's estimated population was 169,822 in July 2011 and 168,436 in July 2012.

Among those who identified as white, Monroe's population dropped by 4,132 since 2010, to 133,461.

The number of those who identify as black rose by 835, to 24,746. Those of Hispanic heritage, regardless of race, rose by 1,440 to 23,720.

Monroe County tied with Dauphin County with the second-largest percentage of minorities in the state — at 31.1 percent — according to an analysis by the Pennsylvania State Data Center.

Philadelphia County leads the state with nearly 64 percent of its residents classified as part of a minority group.

Statewide, Pennsylvania's minority population increased by 6.5 percent since 2010. This accounts for a slight statewide population increase — to 12.77 million — despite a statewide drop in the number of whites.

Pike County's population also has experienced slight declines since 2010. The latest estimate for Pike is 56,591, a drop of nearly 800 in three years. Pike lost 191 residents between 2012 and 2013, according to the estimate.

Pike residents who left tend to be younger.

Pike County had the largest percentage hike in the state during the past three years of residents at least age 65, according to the data center, which is based at Penn State Harrisburg.

Pike gained 1,758 people in three years at least age 65. During that time, it lost 818 people ages 18 through 64.

The number of Hispanics in Pike rose by 368, to 5,541. Pike has 3,533 blacks, according to the 2013 estimate, up by 10 from the previous year.

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