Fulton And Other Rural Counties See Population Decline - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Fulton And Other Rural Counties See Population Decline

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In five QCA counties, population numbers are down.

The Census Bureau reports Whiteside, Carroll, and Mercer Counties in Illinois and Clinton and Jackson Counties in Iowa are all seeing a decrease in population.

In Fulton, Ill. the drop is having an impact in the form of higher property taxes.    

There are 3,431 people living in Fulton. That number, from a 2012 census, is down 11.6 percent since the year 2000.

That means 450 people who were living in Fulton have decided they don't want to live there anymore. And that creates problems for city and school revenue.

So, why don't people want to call Fulton home? Mayor Larry Russell says one reason is because they can't.

"We're limited on our growth area," Russell. "We're surrounded by a river on one side, wetlands on the other, so we can't just plow up another cornfield and put up a bunch of houses."

There's a limited housing stock. So, Mayor Russell says the city needs to use it more efficiently.

"Fix up our low income areas so it's more attractive for young families to move there."
     
But until that happens, the population in Fulton continues to diminish. And that has implications for local schools.

"We are seeing a slow, steady decline in our student population," said Riverbend Schools Superintendent, Chuck Holliday.

"Each time there's another cut, it has another impact and it becomes more and more difficult to provide the quality of education."

Now, Fulton city leaders are working on a strategy to attract new residents to Fulton. Residents who want to stay in Fulton.