“Adios, Amigos”

El Paso’s population growth continues to stagnate, according to this report in ElPasoMatters.org:

El Paso County’s population grew by fewer than 700 people between 2021 and 2022, continuing a flattening trend that has extended for more than a decade, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released on Thursday.

. . .

Joe Hernandez, the owner of Hunter Automotive, which is also a U-Haul store near the Hunter Drive-Interstate 10 intersection, said that for the past several years the number of people renting equipment to move out of town easily surpasses the number of people who are returning equipment after moving into town.

“It is not even close,” he said. “Sometimes we don’t have enough equipment to rent because they pick it up here and they return it in another city. When I ask them why are they leaving, it’s the same answer — higher wages and better jobs.”

I’ve got my own theory about why people are leaving El Paso. Sure, it’s higher wages and better jobs. But that’s like saying that people are dying because they’re sick. Like they’re dying because their heart stopped. But that’s just a symptom of a greater malaise.

The inflection point in El Paso’s population growth happened in 2012. Since 2012, El Paso’s population has essentially flatlined. Around about 2012, the arrogance of the City of El Paso became more pronounced.

The City announced that they were blowing up City Hall to build a ballpark, and they were doing it without the say-so of the taxpayers.

Various iterations of City Council have racked up more than $569 million dollars in Certificates of Obligation. Plus interest. COs, you’ll recall, represent debt that is issued without voter approval.

That’s $569 million of arrogance. Plus interest. That’s more than half a billion dollars of our elected officials, and City Staff, and their puppet masters, showing you that they know better than you do what’s good for you.

City Hall makes it clear that your average El Pasoan doesn’t have a lot of say in the way things go here.

If you’re on the paying end of that deal, instead of the getting the benefit end of that deal, you might decide to leave, too. If you’re a taxpayer, you can run away from the debt, and many former El Pasoans have exercised that option.

The people who are rolling the dice by leaving town for a better life are the same people who might stay in El Paso and start businesses. They are the risk takers. The entrepreneurs.

For the most part, those people don’t like authority figures. They don’t like bullies. They don’t like arrogance,and they don’t like people telling them what they have to do.

I’m sure the people behind the wheel don’t care if you stay of if you go. Frankly, they’d probably rather you leave. They don’t like you very much, and you and your pesky votes are getting in their way.


  1. Sadly, all of this is true, and we here have been talking about it regularly, but since nobody wants to vote and those whe get elected are not beholden to the average tax payer, nothing is being done, and nothing will be done.

    1. I think you have to look at metropolitan numbers instead of City numbers. Many people have left the city, but have moved to areas like Horizon City.

      1. Mr. Moreno…I have to agree…but if you look at the Demographics regarding ELP County…Since 2013…it has grown at less than 1% per year…some years, 1/2 of 1%…The sad fact is that younger El Pasoans are moving to “greener pastures.” Austin? San Antonio? Maybe Dallas and Houston…but the first two cities most closely a city where a young Latino or Latina can move to, get a good paying job, where housing is available. Let us not forget that both cities have a very high Hispanic population, so that any El Pasoan doesn’t feel “out of place.” Not only that, it reminds them of “Home.” But, with more trees and things to do.

        1. You are correct, I believe. The most ambitious or restless might pick New York, San Francisco, etc. But the most popular are the Texas cities, which offer more opportunity and entertainment than El Paso but don’t feel too far from “home.”

          1. Joel….True. Many have gone on to California and the most ambitious to the East Coast. Being in Texas, they still feel close enough to get home to see their family….which is a short hop on Southwest.

  2. 2000 CENSUS
    Population 563,662
    Percent with bachelors degree or higher 18.3%
    Median HHLD income $32,124
    Per capita income $14,388

    2010 CENSUS
    Population 649,121 (+15%)
    Percent with bachelors degree or higher 22.4%
    Median HHLD income $40,808
    Per capita income $19,262

    2020 CENSUS (2021 est.)
    Population 678, 415 (+4.5%)
    Percent with bachelors degree or higher 26.7%
    Median HHLD income $51,325
    Per capita income $25,165

    It’s not all bad in spite of the shit 🙂

    1. I’m assuming that those numbers are nominal. When you factor in inflation, the gains have been much more modest.

      $32,124 in 2000 dollars is worth $48,281 in 2020 dollars.
      $14,388 in 2000 dollars is worth $21,624 in 2020 dollars.

      $40,808 in 2010 dollars is worth $48,435 in 2020 dollars.
      $19,262 in 2010 dollars is worth $22,862 in 2020 dollars.

      And a bachelors degree ain’t what it used to be, either. A high school diploma used to be enough to get you a pretty good job. Now you need that college sheepskin.

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