According to the Census Bureau's 2007 estimates, released earlier this month, Hinesville's population is decreasing. But not by much.
The bureau estimates that between 2006 and 2007, the city's population went down 0.2 percent. "It's such a slight number," said Elaine Boggs, a Hinesville real estate agent.
Boggs surmised that the decrease was due, in part, to dissatisfaction with city taxes. "I know a lot of people who are upset about the tax situation here and who are moving into Long County," she said. Or it could be, according to Boggs, that "people feel that [the city] is getting too populated."
Steve Welborn, Director of Inspections for the City of Hinesville, said that, in his opinion, "the cause of the decrease year 2006-2007 [sic] would have to be due to the deployment understanding that during deployment family members of the soldiers remained in the area unlike previous deployments."
Welborn referenced Hinesville's history of a fluctuating population, which has been most dramatically affected by the movements in and out of Fort Stewart. The city's biggest population decreases came in 2003 and 2005--3.1 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively--when the troops were deployed and when soldiers' families left the Fort Stewart area.
Hinesville does, however, have a big population spike on its horizon. "There has been great speculation and stories of increase in the numbers of soldiers coming to Hinesville," said Welborn, who indicated that with more soldiers come more families and a big boost in population.
Kevin Larson, Chief of Public Communications for Fort Stewart, confirmed the rumors. "Actually, a lot of Soldiers will be coming to Fort Stewart by [the fiscal year] 2012. The number of Soldiers is roughly 3,000, which is the size of an infantry brigade combat team," he said. And, he added, "half of those Soldiers will have a spouse and will also have one to two children."
According to Boggs and Welborn, the city is preparing for the influx of soldiers by building and remodeling homes. "The City of Hinesville has noticed some increase in activity within the building sector," Welborn said, adding that he felt the activity was minimal. "I feel that we will see in the near future continued increase in population and in construction," he said.