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El Paso’s Rise In Population Good Defense Against Recession

El Paso — El Paso’s population is on the rise, and experts say that growth is also why the city is also one of the country’s top 10 most recession-proof cities. El Paso’s population is higher than other surprisingly smaller cities like Las Vegas, Atlanta and Miami.

“A lot of people call El Paso the biggest small town in the world, everybody knows everybody,” Jaime Gandara said. “But obviously by the numbers, it’s not a small town anymore.”

El Paso now lands at 22 of the list of most population U.S. cities in 2009. That’s up a spot from where the city was in 2000.

“It surprises me quite a bit actually,” Gandara said.

Kathy Dodson, director of El Paso’s Department of Economic Development, said the growing trends should not really come as a shock. She point to El Paso’s new medical school and of course, Fort Bliss, as reasons for the growth spurt.

“We know Fort Bliss is boosting these numbers,” Dodson said. “They’re not just growing the number of soldiers. They’re also bringing in a lot of family members. They’re also bringing in a lot of civilian jobs by over 3000.”

Gandara adds that many local businesses are the ones that will benefit the most.

“I think it’ll add a boost to the economy, probably more than anything the retail sector,” Gandara said. “A lot of local businesses will get the biggest boost.”

That boost is also keeping economic troubles at length for the Sun City.

“Texas overall is the state that’s recovering from the recession the fastest, and within Texas we’re really doing well here in El Paso,” Dodson said. “That’s not to say it’s all positive. We’re not seeing the wage growth we’d like to see.”

Gandara agrees that the lack of financial growth is a deterrent for others outside of El Paso looking for a job, but he said there’s an up-side to this situation.

“I think it evens out when you consider cost of living, Gandara said. “You go to places like California and California is expensive to live in.”

And Dodson said when you consider this, El Paso’s has a positive future ahead.

“I think long-term, when you look at El Paso 3 or 5 years, El Paso’s future is bright,” Dodson said.

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