HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut’s population decreased slightly from July 2013 to July 2014 as about 26,000 more people moved out of state than moved in, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
The overall population drop of 2,664 people during that period, which includes births, deaths and international migration, was the first time Connecticut’s population has decreased since 2008, the Hartford Courant reported (http://cour.at/1upFENM ). The state population was about 3.6 million as of last July.
While the decrease was only a fraction of 1 percent, it was the third-largest decline of any state after West Virginia and Illinois.
Economist Ron Van Winkle, the town manager of West Hartford, said the improving economy may have played a role.
“One of the things that happened in the last recession is that a lot of people postponed retirement and continued to work,” Van Winkle said. “The economy finally got to a place where we’ve seen a jump in people finally accepting that, `Yeah, it’s time to retire.”’
And when Connecticut retirees move, they most often relocate to Florida, he said.
The net loss of 26,000 residents to other states is about 10,000 more than the previous year and about 12,500 more than the period from July 2010 to July 2011.
In 2013, about 91,000 people left Connecticut for other states, census data show. New York, Massachusetts, Florida, Pennsylvania and California were the biggest recipients of Connecticut expatriates that year.
In addition to people moving to Connecticut from other states, more than 17,000 people moved here from other countries from July 2013 to July 2014. That was a big increase over the 9,700 people from other countries who moved to Connecticut in 2011.
The natural population increase _ births minus deaths _ has been declining in recent years. There were 6,900 more births than deaths last year, compared with 9,075 in 2011.