Once-booming El Dorado County lost residents last year, one of 18 California counties that saw its population shrink from 2010 to 2011, according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
The loss was minuscule -- 210 people, or one-tenth of one percent -- but it represents a reversal for a county that averaged 3.5 percent annual population growth during the past four decades.
Two factors explain the drop: low birth rates and more residents leaving the county than coming. Last year, El Dorado County saw about 9 births for every 1,000 residents -- 35 percent below the statewide average. About 500 more residents left the county last year than came to it.
This chart shows El Dorado County's annual population changes over the last decade.
Other counties in the region continued to grow, though at a much slower pace than during the housing boom. Placer County mustered 2 percent growth, the highest growth rate in the state; Sacramento County added 14,000 people, a 1 percent increase; and Yolo County grew by 1,000 residents, or half a percent.
The four-county region had 2,176,235 residents in July 2011, about 1 percent more than lived here a year prior, the new estimates show.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau