Census: Shelton population continues rise, becomes more diverse

Mayor Mark A. Lauretti presented his budget for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 to the Board of Aldermen and the Board of Apportionment and Taxation at Shelton City Hall in Shelton, Conn., on Thursday April 1, 2021.

Mayor Mark A. Lauretti presented his budget for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 to the Board of Aldermen and the Board of Apportionment and Taxation at Shelton City Hall in Shelton, Conn., on Thursday April 1, 2021.

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON - The city has remained a hot spot for new residents over the past two decades, according to census data released last week.

Shelton, with a population of 40,869, has grown by more than 1,300 over the past 10 years and more than 2,700 in the past 20 years - growth Mayor Mark Lauretti says comes down to quality of life.

“I don’t need to see the numbers … I live this every day,” Lauretti said about the city’s continued growth. “When people look at Shelton, they see stability, affordability, great quality of life.”

U.S. Census data shows that the city has become much more diverse over the past decade. The white population dropped from 35,904 to 32,733, while the Black, Asian and Hispanic communities rose significantly.

The number of Black people in the city rose from 428 in 2000 and 935 in 2010 to 1,966 in 2020. The Asian population rose from 791 two decades ago to 1,529 10 years ago to 1,822 in 2020. The number of Hispanics rose from 1,326 in 2000 to 4,080 in 2020.

Lauretti said the city’s population sat at 36,500 when he was first elected three decades ago.

The mayor also cited the city’s tax stability as another draw. In May, the Board of Aldermen approved the city’s 2021-22 fiscal year budget of $129 million, a figure that includes a mill rate drop to 22.03, a 1.74 percent decrease from the previous year.

“What has really grown is our business count … the number of people coming here to work every day,” Lauretti said. “We've become an employment center in Connecticut. People are dumbfounded by the fact that we get anywhere from 22,000 to 25,000 people to commute here, pre-pandemic.”

Lauretti pinpointed downtown development as further proof, with hundreds of apartments either online or planned to come online soon.

“Look at downtown … look how many people want apartments down there, and there is another restaurant coming in,” Lauretti said. And when the pandemic is over, retail coming in, too.”

Another downtown attraction, according to Lauretti, is the Riverwalk, where people have been gathering to attend concerts in the summer, fireworks shows, hold weddings and parties, and just enjoy a day at the park.

“One of my goals (when first elected) in 1992,” Lauretti said, “was to make the downtown contribute to the grand list. Now it does.

“We now have 14 miles of walking trails, 2,000 acres of dedicated open space, which preserves the natural beauty and integrity of the neighborhoods,” Lauretti added.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com