Owensboro can finally take the “5” off the beginning of the population sign and add a “6”.

The U.S. Census Bureau released its estimates for the population of cities as of July 1, 2019, on Thursday.

And it estimates that Owensboro’s population had reached 60,131 by then.

That’s up 396 from a year earlier.

“That’s great news, obviously,” Mayor Tom Watson said. “Building our city one person at a time is working. We’re making progress.”

The city’s diverse economy is partly responsible, he said.

“This is great news for us that I suspect will only get better over the next few years,” Candance Castlen Brake, president of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, said of the estimate.

“Over 15 years ago, the Greater Owensboro community adopted the strategy of talent, innovation and place,” she said. “This strategy is paying off. While our peer communities are declining in population, we are experiencing well-paced, incremental growth, which is desirable for so many reasons.”

Brake said, “The recent pandemic highlights just another benefit Greater Owensboro has. We have amenities that most communities our size do not have, yet we also have a small enough city where the lack of density is a tremendous asset.”

She said, “As we see global corporations shift to a work from home model, Owensboro is positioned to continue to grow and experience economic success. But we must continue to invest in the infrastructure that makes it possible to live here and experience the quality of life we are so proud and fortunate to enjoy.”

Several Kentucky cities and Evansville, Indiana, lost population between 2018 and 2019, the report says.

Louisville dropped from 618,495 to 617,638 and Evansville went from 118,060 to 117,979.

Henderson’s population fell from 28,410 to 28,207; Madisonville from 18,919 to 18,773; and Paducah lost one person, dropping to 24,865.

Many smaller communities also lost population.

Owensboro hit the 50,000 mark in 1970 with an official census report of 50,329 people.

That gave it “metropolitan area” status.

It’s taken another 50 years to break the 60,000 mark.

Census reports say Owensboro saw double-digit growth in every decade from 1920 to 1970.

But in the 1970s, growth slowed to 8.2%.

And in the 1980s, Owensboro actually lost population — down 1.7%.

The 1990s saw only a 1% growth.

But in the first decade of the 21st century, Owensboro grew at a rate of 5.9%

And the teens decade saw 5% growth — from 57,265 to 60,131

Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301 klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

Here are the estimate for several cities

City 2019 2018

Owensboro 60,131 59,745

Bowling Green 70,543 68,633

Louisville 617,638 618,495

Lexington 323,152 322,426

Evansville 117,979 118,060

Beaver Dam 3,571 3,585

Bremen 190 191

Calhoun 734 740

Centertown 430 432

Central City 5,730 5,774

Drakesboro 498 500

Henderson 28,207 28,410

Elizabethtown 30,289 30,108

Fordsville 530 530

Greenville 4,204 4,247

Hartford 2,726 2,733

Hawesville 990 994

Island 451 452

Lewisport 1,690 1,695

Livermore 1,289 1,298

Madisonville 18,773 18,919

Paducah 24,865 24,866

Powderly 736 735

Rockport 265 267

Sacramento 440 445

South Carrollton 180 179

Whitesville 555 556

Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301

klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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