Taking a closer look, Carroll County in the actual 2010 count, increased by 4,152, ( 47,818 vs.43,666.), or 9.4% according to the NH OEP:
Other than Jackson, NH, which dropped by 19 people in 2010, all the other towns in Carroll County increased in population. One explanation for our lower numbers is that perhaps we were under counted and that our actual population was closer to the 2000 level. All NH counties increased in population in 2010 and in fact Carroll County at 9.4% was just behind Strattford County ( 9.7%) in terms of percent increase.
According to the NH OEP 2014 estimates, Moultonboro was estimated at a slight increase of 26 to 4,070 and the county increased by 510.
The methodology for estimated population is as follows: "The official estimates of population are based on a dwelling unit method. The method attempts to translate permits issued for new dwellings into estimated population. The 2010 US Census serves as a benchmark; changes in the number of dwellings are used to update the dwelling unit counts by the US Census. Two rates are used to convert the estimated number of dwellings into estimated population. These rates are population per household and occupancy rates.These rates vary considerably by housing type. For this reason, data and calculations are divided into single family, multi-family and manufactured housing types. The rates are taken from the 2010 decennial census.The dwelling unit calculations estimate household population. Group Quarters population, persons living in dormitories, prisons, etc., is estimated using the 2010 census and updated using an annual OEP survey of establishments known to have group quarters population. The individual municipal estimates are proportionately controlled to an existing estimated state total.
This state total is prepared with the state as a single statistical entity. In turn, this state total results from an adjustment to conform to a national total. The state total is prepared by the Census Bureau’s Federal-State Cooperative Program for Population Estimates (FSCPE). "
How accurate are these estimates? In 2009, OEP estimated Moultonboro's population at 4,980 which as it turns out was way off the mark. They did get pretty close at the county level as they estimated Carroll County at 47,693, just 125 less than the 2010 census count.
There is a disclaimer on the OEP website: "We must stress that due to methodology changes over the years, population figures are not comparable, except for the US Census data, which started in 1790 and is conducted every ten years."
It does throw some doubt in my mind about how accurate demographic predictions are especially when we consider the future school population. The demographics report submitted to the school district by Dr. Joyce and Keith Burke in June 2015 used census data and NH OEP estimates. It doesn't change the enrollment numbers of course, but it may skew the other calculations, such as percent enrollment to population and of course, future enrollment projections.
The only certainty in all this data is that the further out you go, the less accurate the conclusions, at least until the next census.
Are we growing or shrinking? Probably.....