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Comprehensive plans are adopted for the people of a community. They serve the current needs of the people, besides trying to maintain the optimum relationship between future residents and the environment.

Population analysis then is at the base of almost all major plans and decisions. Figures on population are used in considering new highways and changes in existing ones. They're helpful in planning additional retail and wholesale establishments, and in determining water and sewer facilities. Population studies can be used in program planning for a variety of community services and facilities, such as a youth center or recreational schedules for senior citizens. School boards can use population projections in planning new classrooms and in looking for new locations for classrooms in the community.

This study centers on two types of population analysis. The first is current population studies, which focus on the stratification and composition of Middletown. The second type of analysis involves forecasts which indicate future population levels. From these forecasts, Middletown can estimate future land use requirements, public facility needs, and the general composition of the City.

Many groups have published population projections and forecasts for Middletown. The chart below summarizes the various projections for Middletown. All of the studies had different conclusions on Middletown's future population growth.

The low estimates of the 1965 Comprehensive Plan of Development has proven to be the most accurate. All the projections were done utilizing 1960 Census data. This report is the first population study on Middletown using 1970 Census results. All figures are from the Federal Census, except those on births and deaths since 1970, which were supplied by the City Department of Health.

It must be kept in mind that ideas for future development should be flexible to meet the changing needs of a changing population and environment. If population growth should not happen in the proportions outlined here, the inevitability of growth still cannot be ignored, and an effective community planning policy must be modified accordingly.

Middletown and the Midstate Planning Region

Of the fifteen planning regions in Connecticut, the Midstate Planning Region was ninth in per cent population increase for the period 1960-1970. The fastest growing region in the State was the lower portion of Middlesex County, the Connecticut River Estuary Planning Region. That Region increased its population by 60.1%.

Midstate's population increase has not been dramatic, but its population level has been persistent. For the thirty years 1940-1970, the Midstate Planning Region accounted for 2+% of Connecticut's population:

Middletown and the Midstate Region in Relation to State Population
  State Mid State Region Middletown
Number Number % of State Number % of Region
1940 1,709,242 41,449 2.42 26,495 63.9
1950 2,007,280 45,539 2.26 25,644 56.3
1960 2,535,234 62,269 2.46 29,139 47.3
1970 3,032,217 74,798 2.50 33,277 44.4

  This also indicates that Middletown's share of the Midstate population has been diminishing. In 1940, 63.9% of Midstate's population resided in Middletown. In 1970, the percentage living in Middletown has been reduced to 44.4%. Charts 1 & 2 look more closely at regional population changes.

Chart 1- Population Trends of the Midstate Region- 1940-1970
  1940 Population % of Region 1950 Population % of Region 1960 Population % of Region 1970 Population % of Region
Cromwell 3,261 7.9 4,286 9.4 6,780 11.5 7,400 9.8
Durham 1,098 2.7 1,804 4.0 3,096 5.3 4,489 6.0
East Haddam             4,474 5.9
East Hampton 2,955 7.1 4,000 8.8 5,403 9.2 7,078 9.4
Haddam 2,069 5.0 2,636 5.8 3,466 5.9 4,934 6.5
Middlefield 1,230 3.0 1,983 4.3 3,255 5.5 4,132 5.5
Middletown 26,495 63.9 25,644 56.3 29,136 47.3 33,277 44.4
Portland 4,321 3.0 5,186 11.4 7,496 12.7 8,812 11.7
Midstate Regional Planning Area 41,449   45,539       74,793  
The Region outside Middletown 14,954 36.1 19,895 43.7     41,521 55.6

Chart 2- Population Changes- 1940-1970
Percent Changes
  1940-1950 1950-1960 1960-1970
State of Connecticut 17.4 26.3 19.6
Midstate Region 9.9 29.3 20.1
Cromwell 30.5 58.1 9.1
Durham 65.2 71.5 45.1
East Haddam     23.0
East Hampton 35.2 35.1 31.0
Haddam 26.9 31.5 42.4
Middlefield 61.2 64.2 26.9
Middletown 3.2 14.7 11.0
Portland 20.5 44.5 17.6

In the past ten years the other towns of the Midstate Region have had much more substantial percentage increases than Middletown. Durham's population grew 45%, but Middletown's increase was 11%. The basic distribution pattern of people throughout the Region changed during this period. In 1960 Middletown accounted for 47.3% of the Midstate population; in 1970 it accounted for 44.4%. Middletown is no longer the strong, central core of a rural region, as it was at the outbreak of World War II. Middletown's growth hasn't substantially decreased. The other town's have had tremendous growth. This situation should have a considerable impact on the development of Middletown.

Characteristics of the People of Middletown

The proportion of males and females in Middletown is the same as in the rest of the State:
  Connecticut Middletown
Males 48.5% 49.0%
Females 51.55% 51.0%

In Middletown, the number of males and females were both up by 11%. Several characteristics of population are related to this basic figure and all increased at a similar pace. There were 12% more married couples in 1970 than in 1960. Family population increased correspondingly by 14%. Household population saw a 13% increase. The Bureau of the Census defines family as persons living in the same household who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption. Household is a term which covers persons occupying a single housing unit.

Perhaps the Census characteristics whose meaning will have the greatest impact on the Middletown of the future are family and household population. The number of families increased 7% since 1960, but the number of households increased by 21%.

At the same time, there was a significant increase in the number of unrelated individuals in Middletown. This group increased 36%. Unrelated individuals are considered to be persons not living with relatives, but living in a household entirely alone, or with one or more persons not related to him. These two groups include young adults renting in apartment buildings throughout the City.

Related characteristics are median age and educational levels. The median age in Middletown decreased by about five years, from 33.4 years in 1960 to 28.8 years in 1970. Middletown's population is even younger than the State's; the median age of the population of Connecticut is 30.3. The median school years completed by Middletown residents remains lower than the State median, but the gap has narrowed. In 1960, the median by State residents was 1.3 years more than the median school years completed by Middletown residents. In 1970, the difference was only 0.4 years.

These figures should be regarded as a unit. Overall, they indicate no dramatic change in Middletown's tradition as a family community, but they do signal the surfacing of younger, better educated groups in Middletown, in line with national trends. With the new construction of attached dwelling units in Middletown, this group will probably increase. These people are usually described as more affluent, self-concerned, more oriented to immediate pursuits vs. long term concerns, fashion and appearance conscious, active both in lifestyle and leisure pursuits. in order to capture this new market, public and private groups will be obligated to tailor their programs to reflect this group needs.

Future Population Levels

Changes in population levels come about through natural population increase and migration. Natural increase is defined as the excess of births over deaths, while is the result of movement from one community to another. Net migration is the net change in population due to the interchange of people with other communities. Basically, it is the difference between the people who move into the community, and the number of people who move out of the community.

Chart A shows the population changes in Middletown for a thirty year period:

Chart A- Population Changes 1940-1950-1960-1970
  Total Change Natural Increase Net Migration
1940-1950 3,216 2,550 666
1950-1960 3,539 3,794 -255
1960-1970 4,211 2,685 1,526

Chart A includes Middletown's group quarter population. If the group quarter population is excluded, the population levels are changed. Chart B shows Middletown's households population gain has effectively come only in the last ten years:

Chart B- Population Changes 1940-1950-1960-1970
  Total Change Natural Increase Net Migration
1940-1950 -851 2,550 -3,401
1950-1960 3,775 3,794 -19
1960-1970 3,858 2,685 1,173

While many population projects and forecasts go far into the future with an assumed fertility and mortality rate, population changes in Middletown will be due to net migration. Population increases will come from people occupying the new housing in Middletown, which will increase 39.3% from 1960 to 1975. If all the houses with conceptual approval to be built, there would be a 92.0% increase in housing in Middletown since 1960. Since 1970 alone, there has been a 62% increase in housing with conceptual approval. Measures which  incorporate housing information will give the best idea of Middletown's future population. Housing information takes into account the people who are now not residents of Middletown but who occupy the new housing.

Charts C and D use housing information to derive estimates of current population and future population in Middletown. Because Middletown's population will draw considerably from Connecticut for its future population, each housing unit was multiplied by the 1970 household size in Connecticut (3.16 persons) to determine population. In allocating amounts and levels of service in Middletown, these figures should be consulted.

Chart C- Population Estimate
1970 Household Population 33,277
Estimate Population, all housing units in place, January 1, 1975 39,711
Births, 1971-1974 2,148
Deaths -1,299
Total Estimated Population January 1, 1975 40,560

Chart D- Forecasted Population
1970 Household Population 33,277
Projected Population in units with conceptual approval 20,966
Total Projected Population 54,243

Considerations on Planned Population Growth

Growth is not by definition a good thing and it is not the basic ingredient of a strong, vital community. New industries and an increase in housing starts do not necessarily mean community progress. Often, services needed to accommodate new developments can be more costly than tax benefits derived from them. Growth is a variable which should be influenced in pursuit of desirable quality of life.

Growth is a key element is attaining comprehensive planning goals. Limiting or managing growth is not a goal, but a technique for achieving other benefits. The Planning and Zoning Commission's attention should be directed towards devising a strategy which encourages growth towards a development of balances. Planning provides a framework for guiding Middletown towards growth by relating, balancing, and harmonizing the physical, social, economic and cultural factors of he community. If these factors are not considered in terms of valid land use regulations, long range comprehensive planning (including fiscal planning), then Middletown will have to cope with excessive mill rates, inadequate public facilities, damage to the environment, and inefficient land use.

The first step in devising a growth strategy is to learn where the people of a community are located. Most of the Middletown's population resides in the geographic center of the City. As much as 58% of the population is on 15% of the City's land (see following charts and maps for further detail). There does exist a very definite demographic center in Middletown. Housing construction since the 1970 Census, however, is moving outward from the urban core.

Thirteen percent of the population resides in Census Tract 5409, where most of the R-1 land is situated, in the southern portion of Middletown. Much of this land is designated in the Proposed Plan of Conservation and Development for Connecticut as suitable for urban development. The State would encourage residential development in these areas at densities of one dwelling unit or more per half acre. Since Census Tract 5409 basically has no sewer and water, almost an acre is required before a housing can be built.

As zoned, Census Tract 5409 could support 9,592 families (there were 1,156 families there in 1970). This could mean a possible tract population of 29,735 people, which is about the population of all of Middletown in 1960. The State plan proposes development twice this size Middletown should keep in mind that development of residential areas means a corresponding development of commercial properties, such as supermarkets and convenience stores. At the very least, this density should support a neighborhood shopping center. This would require a minimum of 4 acres be zoned as B-2 land.

The most immediate growth issue confronting Middletown is whether this land should support more housing, if it should be developed at a lower density, or if it should be retained as open space. If it is decided to develop this land at a residential density, Middletown should take every step to provide the services needed by families and households.

1970 Population by Census Tract
Item Census Tract Numbers  
5401 5402 5403 5404 5405 5406 5407 5408 5409 Total
Area (Sq. Miles) 0.90 3.50 12.76 0.50 3.30 1.84 0.85 0.40 18.84 42.9
Total Population 4,339 3,997 5,757 3,094 4,203 5,705 3,723 1,924 4,182 36,924
Household Population 4,275 3,958 5,711 1,952 4,034 5,463 3,574 189 4,121 33,277
Percent Population 12.8 11.8 17.2 5.8 12.1 16.4 10.6 0.6 12.4  
Acres 292.0 2,195.2 7,974.4 240.4 2073.6 1,127.0 269.8 220.7 11,865.0 26,258.1
Population/acre 14.6 1.8 0.7 8.1 1.9 3.8 13.2 0.9 0.3 0.3
R-1 Acreage   1,516.7 6,328.0 12.10 1,386.7 1,061.8   220.7 9,592.0  
R-2 Acreage   145.6 33.2   66.0          
R-3 Acreage 150.3   156.4 185.9 74.0 21.9 119.5   35.4  
R-4 Acreage 14.6   16.3 42.3     70.0      
B-1 Acreage 16.2           10.2      
B-2 Acreage     90.8   8.7 42.5 19.3      
B-3 Acreage 38.8           41.0      
I-1 Acreage 72.1         50.6 9.8   132.9  
I-2 Acreage   465.9 1,126.3   250.8          
I-3 Acreage                 1,709.6  
PRD Acreage   67.0 291.1   287.4 15.3     49.0  

Middletown's Ethnic and Racial Composition

Middletown's foreign stick is a significant proportion of the City's population. Statewide in 1970, 23.3% of the population was of foreign stock while in Middletown 35.1% was of foreign stock. The U.S. Bureau of the Census uses the term foreign stock to describe the native population of foreign or mixed parentage and the foreign born population.

Only three ethnic groups increased in Middletown: Italians, Czechoslovakians, and persons from the United Kingdom. All other groups decreased. From 1960 to 1970 Czechoslovakians increased by 19, persons from the United Kingdom increased by 113 and Italians increased by 436, the largest increase.

Middletown's racial composition has similar proportions as the State's racial composition. While the City's Negro population had a considerable percentage increase from 1960 to 1970, only 6.7% of the total population is Negro.

The following charts and tables detail information about Middletown's ethnic and racial groups. All figures are from the 1960 and 1970 census.

Characteristics of the Population- Ethnic Composition 1960-1970
  1960 1970 Difference % Change
Total Population 33,250 36,946 +3,696 +11.1%
Persons of Puerto Rican Birth/Parentage 41 172 +131 +344%
Total Foreign Stock 13,735 13,278 -457 -1.1%
% Foreign Stock of Total Population 41.3% 35.1%   -6.2%
Foreign Born 3,758 3,763 +5 +1.5%
Native of Foreign or Mixed Parentage 9,977 9,515 -462 -5.6%
United Kingdom 818 931 +113 +13.8%
Ireland 927 628 -299 -33.3%
Sweden 529 323 -206 -38.9%
Germany 811 653 -158 -19.5%
Poland 2,618 2,036 -582 -22.2%
Czechoslovakian 146 165 +19 +13.0%
Austria 257 180 -77 -29.9%
Hungary 63 49 -14 -23.8%
USSR 600 534 -66 -11.0%
Italy 4,841 5,277 +436 +9.0%
Canada 1,154 1,223 +69 +6.0%
Mexico 33 5 -28 -84.8%
All Other and not reported 929 1,135 +206 +22.2%

Characteristics of the Population- Racial Composition 1960-1970
  1960 1970 Difference % Change
White 31,924 34,225 +2301 +7%
Negro 1,291 2,496 +1205 +93%
Other 35 203 +168 +480%

Percent Racial Composition- 1970
  White Negro Other
State 93.7% 5.9% 0.4%
Middletown 93.2% 6.7% 0.1%


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