Several towns in St. Lawrence County that showed the greatest population increases in the 2010 census also have the largest Amish populations, according to a county planning office memo submitted to the county board of legislators.
The towns of Lawrence (with an increase of 281 people), DeKalb (an increase of 221), DePeyster (increase of 62), Hopkinton (increase of 57), Norfolk (increase of 103), Stockholm (increase of 73) and Oswegatchie (increase of 27) all have Amish communities, county planner John Tenbusch reported.
He cautioned, however, that there’s nothing in the statistics that definitely points to increases in the Amish population, historically a hard-to-count segment. “Correlation does not imply causation,” he stated.
Overall, St. Lawrence gained 13 people over the past decade, to 111,944. Ogdensburg was the biggest loser, dropping 1,186 people, or 9.5 percent. The Village of Canton showed the biggest increase – 432 people, for a total of 6,314, or a jump of 7.3 percent.
Prior to the census count, the Amish, along with college students and low-income residents had been identified by the county Complete Count Committee as the populations most at risk of being under-counted.
The committee, led by Tenbush, focused on educating those groups about the benefits and importance of completing the census forms. Promotional fliers, in-person contacts and other methods were used to reach the three groups.
The committee was composed leaders from county businesses, institutions, media and government.
Tenbush noted Friday in a phone interview, however, that during talks with Amish leaders last year, they indicated “they found St. Lawrence County to be attractive.”