The official population count in Shepherdstown has experienced both growth and decline over the last five decades. From a population of 1,328 in 1960, the town reached population of 1,791 residents in 1980 – an increase of nearly 35% since 1960. From that 1980 peak, the town’s official population count declined dramatically, losing 28% of its population between 1980 and 1990 ( a loss of 504 residents) and then experiencing another decline of 7% between 1990 and 2000, which left the town with an official population of only 1,202 residents – a decrease of 85 residents from the 1990 population. By 2010, however, the official population had increased to 2,152 residents, which was 79% higher than the 2000 population. The resurgence in the town’s population between 2000 and 2010 was due to the annexation of the residence halls on the western part of the university campus, as there was little organic growth in the town’s off-campus residential population during this period. Of note, both the 2000 and 2010 population counts were revised upward by the Census Bureau due to inaccurate assignments of Shepherd University on-campus residence halls outside of the corporate limits in the initial counts. Given the small physical size of the town, and the lack of available land within the corporate limits for new development, the growth of the town’s population will be dependent in greatest part on annexation and the growth or decline of the on-campus population of Shepherd University. Therefore, accurate estimates of future population change are very difficult to predict since such changes will depend on factors that are not easily modeled.
|Growth Management Boundary||234|
|Growth Management Boundary|
POPULATION QUICK FACTS:
- The population of the area within the town’s Growth Management Boundary increased by over 42% between 1990 and 2010.
- The population of Jefferson County grew by nearly 50% between 1990 and 2010.
- Nearly 1/3 of the population within the Growth Management Boundary resides within the corporate limits of Shepherdstown.
- Approximately 12.5% of the population of Jefferson County lives within the Shepherdstown Growth Management Boundary.
- Only slightly more than 3% of the population of Jefferson County resides within the corporate limits of Shepherdstown.
- The population density within the corporate limits of Shepherdstown is nearly 25 times higher than the population density found outside of town within the Growth Management Boundary.
- The population density in Shepherdstown is 10.5 times higher than the population density in Ranson and over 6 times higher than the population density in Charles town.
Households and Families
In 2010, the population of Shepherdstown included 1,038 residents who were not part of a household, but rather live in what the Census terms “group quarters”. These residents comprised almost 50% of the population of the town, and represent the portion of the student body of Shepherd University that resides on the campus. The increase of over 600 on-campus residents that were gained through annexation also represneted a significant shift in the share of the on-campus student population as a share of the town’s overall population, which was only around 33% of the total population of the town in 2000.
The average size of households in Shepherdstown is significantly lower than the average household size found in the larger Growth Management Boundary and in Jefferson County as a whole. This has remained true since 1990, when the average household size in Shepherdstown was only 2.14 residents per household. Shepherdstown, the Growth Management Boundary and Jefferson County, all experienced similar declines in the average size of households between 1990 and 2000 and similar increases between 2000 and 2010. This followed national trends tied to economic prosperity in the late 1990s, which led to the formation of a large number of new households, while the 2007-2008 recessionary cycle caused the opposite effect, leading to the consolidation of households. The smaller size of the average household in Shepherdstown is significantly influenced by the presence of the University, whose students that live off campus have a greater tendency to live in single member households than the population as a whole. This is reflected in the fact that approximately 33% of the total number of households in Shepherdstown includes only one resident.
|Growth Management Boundary||2.55||2.37||2.40|
|Growth Management Boundary||3.06||2.86||2.89|
The average size of family households (a household containing two or more related individuals) in Shepherdstown was 2.79 people. While lower than the average family size found in the large Growth Management Boundary and Jefferson County as a whole, this figure represents an interesting divergence in the overall trend in family size that was observed. The average size of family households found in each of the three geographies that are discussed declined between 1990 and 2000 and increased between 2000 and 2010. The average family size in Shepherdstown experienced a smaller decrease than the other two and the average size was actually larger in 2010 than it was in 1990. The opposite was true for the Growth Management Boundary and Jefferson County, neither of which recovered to the average size seen in 1990.
Note: Due to the inaccuracy of the original 2000 Census count, which enumerated age statistics for the undercounted population, that data point is not included in the following discussion.
With a median age of 21.9 years, the distribution of the age of residents within the corporate limits of Shepherdstown is heavily influenced by the on-campus population of Shepherd University. This is in comparison to a median age of 34.8 years for residents within the Growth Management Boundary and 35.9 years for residents of Jefferson County as a whole. The share of the town’s population between the ages of 15 and 24 is approximately 57%, while the share of residents in this age range within the Growth Management Boundary is approximately 28% and around 13.5% in Jefferson County as a whole. The outsized share
Residents over the age of 65 make up 7.6% of the town’s population. This is significantly lower than the share of the over 65 population in the Growth Management Boundary, where 14% of the residents are over the age of 65. This is slightly higher than the share of the population over 65 years of age found in Jefferson County as a whole, which has approximately 12% of its population in this age group. Residents in the youngest age group (under 15 years of age) make up only 6.6% of the town’s population, while residents in this age group comprise over 13% of the population in the Growth Management Boundary and nearly 20% of the population of the county as a whole. The “workforce” age population, between 25 and 64 years of age, makes up only 29% of the town’s population, while 45% of the residents of the Growth Management Boundary and 55% of the residents of the county as a whole are in this age group.
|Growth Management Boundary||34.8|
|Age Group||Shepherdstown||Growth Management Boundary||Jefferson County|
|15 - 24||56.7%||27.7%||13.6%|
|24 - 64||29.1%||45.0%||54.8%|
AGE DISTRIBUTION QUICK FACTS:
- As a share of the total population, residents in the youngest age group (under 15 years of age) declined by nearly 37% between 1990 and 2010.
- As a share of the total population, residents in the oldest age group (over 65 years of age) declined by approximately 25%between 1990 and 2010.
- The share of the Town’s population in the 15-24 year age group increased by over16% between 1990 and 2010.
- The share of the Town’s population in the “workforce” age group (25-64 years of age) decreased by 5% between 1990 and 2010.