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Population Trends for the Platte and Green River Basins in Wyoming: 1890-2010


The purpose of this report is to forecast long-term population growth in the Green and Platte River Basins of Wyoming. Projections are presented by five-year intervals, by counties, for the time period 1970-2010. The projections presented will, in turn serve as a basis for estimating future residential water requirements in each basin.

Time-series census data, adjusted for county boundary changes, provided the empirical base for the projections. The projections for the entire basins were derived in two ways: (1) projections, for separate counties were summed for the basin; and (2) separate projections were made based on summed population data for the entire basin. Several alternative mathematical estimating techniques were used, and judgment was exercised so as to determine the most appropriate projection for each county based on available evidence.

For the Platte River Basin, population is expected to nearly double between 1965 and 2010. The 95 percent confidence limits for the expected basin population in the year 2010 are 291,000 and 388,000, with a predicted population level of 340,000. During this period, the population of Albany and Natrona Counties is expected to approximately double, while Carbon County is expected to grow by 40 percent, and Converse County is predicted to remain static. Because of data aggregation problems, it was necessary to combine data for Laramie, Goshen, and Platte Counties. For this combined area, the population growth is expected to be about 75 percent, with most of the growth expected in the Cheyenne area.

For the Green River Basin, estimates were prepared for Sweetwater, Uinta, Lincoln, and Sublette Counties. The total population of these counties is expected to increase from about 39,000 in 1965 to about 55,000 in the year 2010, an increase of approximately 40 percent. The 95 percent confidence limits for the expected basin population in the year 2010 are 53,000 and 75,000. Sweetwater County is expected to experience the most rapid rate of growth during the period, expanding by at least one-third. Uinta, Lincoln, and Sublette Counties are expected to grow at only modest levels. Of course, technological development in oil shale and minerals extraction could perhaps result in growth levels in excess of those shown in this study.

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