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Friday, April 20 News

Latest census stats show Fairfield population tops 60,000

Fairfield's population has grown by 1,451 people since the 2010 census, according to estimates released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau. The town's new population is estimated at 60,855.

The 1.9 percent increase is less than Westport's 3.3 percent, but a shade more than Bridgeport's 1.7 percent and Easton's 1.5 percent.

The largest increase was recorded in 2011 when the town's population of 59,404 grew by 916 residents. The growth from 2011 to 2012 was 362 and a gain of only 173 was registered in 2013.

First Selectman Michael Tetreau said the town's growing population reinforces what the Board of Education has been saying -- the enrollment in the public schools is also increasing. In the last five to seven years, he said, other towns have been able to contain spending on their schools because of declining enrollments, but in Fairfield's case, enrollments have risen.

School officials, he added, have planned accordingly and managed to keep spending under control.

"Expenses per person is probably a better ratio than just looking at a mill rate," Tetreau said, "which is just the higher the home values, the lower the mill rate."

For example, he said, if Westport were to use Fairfield's per capita expenses, its mill rate would go down. But, if Fairfield were to use Westport's per capita expenses, the town's mill rate would go up.

And Tetreau said the census figures seem to be in contrast to recent stories that Connecticut residents are moving out of the state, particularly when considering the growth reported across Fairfield County.

"Fairfield is a very powerful success story," he said. "People are attracted to our school system, and our amenities, even in this economy."