Ozark Declining Population Surprise Everybody

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Over the last five years, the population of Ozark is estimated to have gone down 2.4 percent. City leaders say they don't know how they could have a population loss.

They say because of neighborhoods and industries coming into the city, they think the report is wrong.

Kathleene Waters has been a realtor for 30 years and she says her Ozark business is booming.

“This market right here, we're kind of hot. We're really not in a depressed area," said Waters

However, US Census Bureau contradicts those sales. The bureau estimates the number of people living in Ozark fell from 15,119 to 14,833 since its report in 2000.

City leaders don't see how that could be true.

Waters says her signs don't stay on the side of the road for long. She says in Ozark, homes usually sale within a month.

“Sometimes we get three offers in one day on the same house. That's how hot the market is right now," said Waters.

Even some people who live in the city say they don't see a decline.

"A lot of people come here just because of retirement, and they like living here in this area because it's a small secluded area, not a lot of people living here. Then, they got golf courses and stuff like that," said Barney Griffin, resident of Ozark.

In the 2000, Ozark had a 19 percent growth over 10 years.

City leaders say the city hasn't lost many people and they say the population has increased.

Ozark's Mayor Bob Bunting told News 4, he plans on challenging the estimate.

He says he knows Ozark isn't growing as rapidly as some surrounding cities like Enterprise or Dothan, but he says they're definitely not declining.