Section 2.1 – Demographic Characteristics
We need to understand our community to plan for its future. It is people that make up a community. Hence it is critical, that any future planning for Pittsfield analyze the population profile and demographic characteristics of the community.
The Regional Context
The city of Pittsfield is the largest community in Pike County, Illinois and serves as the County seat. With a 2000 Census population of 4,211 it is over twice the size of the next largest town in the county. (Actual population is 4,601)
In the last 25 years, Pike County’s population has been declining. As shown in figure 2.1, Pike County has lost more than 2000 people since 1969 – this corresponds to an 11% reduction in its total population. A significant portion of this population loss occurred in the 1980’s when the whole nation was going through an economic recession. The condition seems to be relatively stable now with the latest 2000 population census release showing a marginal increase.
|Figure 2.2 shows the population in the city of Pittsfield since 1960 at decade intervals. Although this graph presents only a partial picture, it seems that the population of Pittsfield has remained steady between 4,100 and 4,250 people. Pittsfield experienced a fluctuation of only about 2% in its population since 1960 even in the face of significant population decline in Pike County. Figure 2.3 presents a more detailed view of Pittsfield’s population since 1990. As evident from the graph, there have been small increases as well as decreases in population size in the past decade. Slightly higher declines occurred in the years 1993 and 1999 when the city lost 50 and 68 people respectively. While these declines are by no means alarming, they are still cause for some concern. It is important to identify the reasons for population decline so that we can develop strategies to address the issue.|
Population Composition by Age, Sex and Race
|Figure 2.4 displays the age composition of Pittsfield in 1990 and 2000 as well as providing the 2000 data for rural Illinois. Rural Illinois includes the population in all counties outside of metropolitan areas. There are several notable differences in the age distribution between 1990 and 2000 and between Pittsfield and rural Illinois. The most notable difference is the much larger proportion of persons aged 65 years and over in Pittsfield. With 25.8 % of the population over 65 years of age Pittsfield is one of the oldest communities in Illinois. The proportion of persons in all age groups up to the 45 to 54 year old group is smaller than rural Illinois. The large growth in the 45 to 54 age group reveals the importance of the Baby Boomer Generation in the local population. An important issue facing many rural places, including Pittsfield, is whether this segment of the population will choose to retire in place. Current trends indicate that increasing numbers of persons retiring in rural areas are moving away. Between 1990 and 2000 Pittsfields 65 and over population decreased by 2.5%.|