by Max Grossman
The American Community Survey (ACS) of the Census Bureau has revealed that as of July 2022, the population of the City of El Paso has decreased to 677,456.
That is 1,019 less than in July 2021, and 6,129 less than the City’s peak population of 683,583 in 2017.
In other words, our city’s population has declined by nearly 1% since 2017.
By contrast, the population of Texas as a whole grew 6.0% from 2017 to 2022.
In the same period, Las Cruces grew 12%.
Sunland Park, New Mexico grew 5.6%.
Socorro, Texas grew 12.5%.
Horizon City grew 20.6%.
BOB MOORE REPORTS
In September 2021, Bob Moore of El Paso Matters published a report on the exodus of El Pasoans to other American cities, documenting that Phoenix, Las Cruces and San Antonio were the three most popular destinations.
Moore seemed to imply that much of the outward migration was due to military base-to-base transfers, though his figures stem from a County data set derived from the US Postal Service.
In his April report, he opines about demographic developments in El Paso County, and the report is interesting and well done, but it does not focus on the net out-migration from the City.
In his current report on the drop by 1,000 inhabitants from 2021 to 2022, Moore only examines the population decline since 2020, publishing a chart that makes the exodus seem less severe (the starting point of his chart should be the beginning of the decrease, in 2017). He offers no opinion or analysis as to why the decline is happening.
I have attached here my own chart based on the ACS data, with each year corresponding to the month of July.
If you talk to the Oligarchs or their political surrogates in local government, they will tell you that the decline results from a lack of economic opportunity which can only be remedied by borrowing heavily in order to build new transportation and housing infrastructure and entertainment amenities.
I think we all should finally admit that the Borderplex economic strategy for El Paso, which may be summarized as “Build it and they will come,” has been an abject failure, since population growth is a key metric of fiscal health.
As every taxpayer knows, people are leaving El Paso in order to escape from high taxation. We all have neighbors who have told us why they are leaving. It is no mystery.
My own mother recently moved back to New Mexico when her property tax shot up. She had planned to retire in El Paso but changed her mind when she experienced the horror of our City’s confiscatory taxation and fees.
But why is our taxation so high?
Simple. To pay for all the borrowing and the expansion of operational spending driven primarily by police and fire.
Our City Council issued 10 certificates of obligation since 2013 without voter approval. Now the City owes $851,565,991 in principal and interest.
Moreover, the City has significantly ramped up spending for police and fire, including very recently, as Moore and other media have pointed out.
To service the debt and the various insolvent capital improvement projects, our City Council voted to raise our property tax eight times in a row, every year since Tommy Gonzalez became City Manager.
Is it any wonder that we now have 1,568 less inhabitants than we did when Gonzalez assumed office in 2014?
When Gonzalez was hired, El Paso was the 19th largest American city by population, but now we are 22nd.
If our City Council does nothing to cut spending and curtail borrowing, we will enter into a financial death spiral from which we cannot recover, and the bond rating agencies will step in and downgrade our debt, and then it’s all over.
Thankfully we have new leadership on City Council that has the courage and determination to pull us out of our nosedive.