By Phillip Reese, Sacramento Bee
Once-booming El Dorado County lost residents last year, one of 18 California counties that saw its population shrink from 2010 to 2011, according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
The loss was minuscule — 210 people, or one-tenth of one percent — but it represents a reversal for a county that averaged 3.5 percent annual population growth during the past four decades.
Two factors explain the drop: low birth rates and more residents leaving the county than coming. Last year, El Dorado County saw about 9 births for every 1,000 residents — 35 percent below the statewide average. About 500 more residents left the county last year than came to it.