WASHINGTON – The Buffalo metro area’s population dropped ever so slightly last year, but a continuing wave of immigrants largely made up for a continuing loss of longtime residents.
New Census Bureau estimates released Thursday showed the population of the Buffalo metro area, which includes Erie and Niagara counties, to be 1,135,230 as of last July 1.
That is down by 1,412, or 0.12 percent.
The new figures estimated that 3,714 people from overseas moved to the area during the year as refugees and other immigrants continued to pour into Buffalo.
In contrast, 5,256 longtime residents left the area.
The new figures show the trends of the decade continuing. Since the 2010 census, 17,244 immigrants have moved to the region, while 16,282 people have left to go to other parts of the United States.
Buffalo remained the nation’s 50t- largest metropolitan area, just as it had been in 2014.
The annual Census Bureau figures are based on birth and death statistics as well as migration estimates that are calculated using a number of factors.
The metropolitan area figures tend to mask some more detailed trends.
For example, Erie County’s population – which had been shrinking for decades – increased slightly in 2014 while Niagara County’s population continued to decline.
The new figures, however, show a slight population decline for both counties in 2015.
The Census Bureau pegged Erie County’s population at 922,578, down by 615 or 0.1 percent.
Meanwhile, Niagara County’s population was 212,652, down by 797 or 0.4 percent from 2014.
The region’s population losses are tiny compared to those of previous decades.
The Buffalo metropolitan area’s population fell by only 279, or 0.02 percent, between 2010 and 2015.
In contrast, the Census Bureau estimated that the region lost 22,400 people, or 1.9 percent of its population, between 2000 and 2005.