The U.S. Census Bureau recently released results from its 2006 American Community Survey. This was the second year Cochise County was included in the survey, which provides annual updates to the census data collected every 10 years. Prior to 2005, only communities with a population of 250,000 or more were included. In 2005, this was changed to include populations of 65,000 or more.
The Census Bureau's population estimates for Cochise County differ considerably from the estimates produced by the Arizona Department of Economic Security. According to DES, Cochise County's 2006 population was 135,150, up 2.5 percent from 2005.
Both the Census Bureau and DES estimates use the Census 2000 population figures as a base. According to the Census Bureau, the county's population has increased by 8.5 percent since 2000. According to DES, it has increased by 14.8 percent. The difference between the two population growth estimates is 7,393 residents, which is more than the entire population of Bisbee, and more than the populations of Huachuca City, Tombstone, and Willcox combined.
According to the ACS, the three fastest-growing age groups countywide between 2000 and 2006 were aged 55 and up. The fastest-growing age group was 75 to 84 years, which grew by 48.2 percent from 5,670 to 8,405. The second fastest-growing group was 55 to 59 years, which grew by 32.8 percent from 6,335 to 8,416. Next was 60 to 64 years, which grew by 22.3 percent from 6,147 to 7,518.
Regarding the younger generation, the 5 to 9 years age group declined by 1.9 percent, from 8,468 to 8,304. The 10 to 14 years age group dropped by 3.9 percent from 9,105 to 8,757. Cochise County did see something of a baby boom in recent years, however, with the number of children under 5 years old increasing by 14.2 percent between 2000 and 2006, from 7,966 to 9,095.
From 2000 to 2006, the number of households in Cochise County with individuals under 18 years old increased by 9.3 percent, from 15,637 to 17,097. As a share of total households, those with individuals under 18 years old dropped from 35.6 to 35.1 percent.
The number of households with individuals 65 years old and over increased by 19.1 percent, from 12,404 to 14,772. As a share of total households, those with individuals 65 years old and over increased from 28.3 to 30.3 percent.
Between 2000 and 2006, the median age of Cochise County residents increased from 36.9 to 38.7 years. The average household size dropped from 2.55 to 2.48. The average family size dropped slightly from 3.07 to 3.05.
The Hispanic/Latino population in Cochise County grew by 11.6 percent between 2000 and 2006, from 36,134 to 40,331. In 2000, those classifying themselves as Hispanic or Latino accounted for 30.7 percent of the countywide population. In 2006, this increased to 31.6 percent.
Of Cochise County residents who have ever been married, 15.1 percent were divorced as of 2006. This was up from 14.6 percent in 2000.
The number of households in Cochise County led by single moms grew by 10.2 percent between 2000 and 2006, from 3,110 to 3,427. As a share of total households, those led by single moms dropped slightly from 7.1 to 7.0 percent.
The number of households led by single dads in 2006 was 924, or 1.9 percent of total households countywide. This measure wasn't reported during Census 2000.
Between 2000 and 2006, the number of grandparents who were responsible for their grandchildren increased by 43.1 percent from 1,616 to 2,312. In 2006, 49.7 percent of grandparent caregivers had been responsible for their grandchildren for 5 or more years.
Between 2000 and 2006, the number of Cochise County residents enrolled in college or graduate school dropped by 3.1 percent from 7,459 to 7,227. As a share of the population ages 15 and over, the proportion of residents enrolled in college or grad school dropped from 8.1 to 7.1 percent.
From 2000 to 2006, the number of Cochise County residents who had at least a high school diploma increased from 79.5 to 84.5 percent of the population ages 25 and over. The number of residents holding a bachelor's degree or higher increased from 18.8 to 20.4 percent of the population.
Within higher education, the largest increases in educational attainment occurred in the number of residents who've earned an associate degree, which increased by 39.3 percent from 6,552 to 9,129. During the same period, the number of residents who had earned a bachelor's degree increased by 17.2 percent, from 9,390 to 11,001. The number of residents who had earned a graduate or professional degree increased by 25.2 percent, from 4,857 to 6,080. From 2000 to 2006, the proportion of residents holding a graduate or professional degree increased from 6.4 to 7.3 percent of the population ages 25 and over.
Between 2000 and 2006, the number of civilian veterans of the military residing in Cochise County increased by 2.4 percent, from 19,044 to 19,494. The number of Cochise County residents who were civilian veterans of the military declined from 23.3 to 21.3 percent of the adult population between 2000 and 2006.
Between 2000 and 2006, the number of residents who spoke a language other than English at home dropped from 29.5 to 26.4 percent of the population ages 5 and over. Of those who spoke a language other than English, the proportion of those who spoke English less than very well increased from 35.6 to 37.8 percent. Of Spanish speakers, who accounted for 90.8 percent of those who spoke a language other than English, the proportion who spoke English less than very well in 2006 was 39.3 percent, up from 37.2 percent in 2000.
In 2006, the median household income in Cochise County was $38,427, up 19.7 percent from 1999. The median family income was $46,097, up 21.3 percent. In 2006, 15.7 percent of all families in Cochise County were below the poverty level, up from 13.5 percent in 1999. Of families led by single-moms, 50.8 percent were below the poverty level in 2006; up from 47.2 percent in 1999. Of individuals 65 years old and over, 10.4 percent were below the poverty line in 2006, the same as in 1999.
The median value of an owner-occupied home in Cochise County in 2006 was $136,700, up 55 percent from $88,200 in 2000. The median monthly housing cost (mortgage plus selected other costs) for owner-occupied units with a mortgage in 2006 was $970, up 14.7 percent from $846 in 2000.
In 2006, 32.7 percent of homeowners in Cochise County, who paid a mortgage on their homes, paid 30 percent or more of their household income in monthly housing costs, indicating they lived in housing that was not affordable to them. This was up from 20.5 percent in 2000.
The median gross rent (rent plus utilities) for rental units in Cochise County in 2006 was $607 per month, up 29.1 percent from $470 in 2000. In 2006, 47 percent of renter households in Cochise County paid 30 percent or more of their household income in gross rent, indicating they lived in housing that was not affordable to them. This was up from 37.1 percent in 2000.