According to U.S. Census Bureau numbers from 2000, the city of Diboll had nearly 1,700 more in population than the city of Hudson. With the numbers released from the 2010 Census released Thursday, that gap closed considerably.

Diboll fell from 5,470 to 4,776, a drop of 12.7 percent, while Hudson went from 3,792 to 4,731, an increase of almost 25 percent. Hudson’s population has nearly doubled from the 1990 Census count, which had the number of persons in the city at 2,374.

Hudson Mayor Robert Smith said the feeling was that the numbers were going to show significant growth.

“We’ve had a pretty good increase. That’s substantial. We knew it was coming and we’re pleased that we’ve grown that much,” Smith said. “The quality of our city services and our schools have contributed to our growth.”

Smith said the Hudson school system is one of the best in the state.

“We’re very efficient and run well with a superintendent (Mary Ann Whiteker) that is very committed,” Smith said.

Smith said the city has seen some new businesses pop up.

“You can’t force new businesses to come here, but as our population increases new businesses will come with that,” Smith said.

Diboll Mayor Bill Brown said his feeling a few years ago was that Diboll’s population might drop below 5,000, especially with layoffs at Temple-Inland. He said that’s the main reason he pushed for the Home Rule, which the city council approved in 2008. The Home Rule allows the city to expand the way it annexes property.

“It’s a great thing, and if we hadn’t done it we’d be out of luck. It allows you to set more guidelines and ordinances and have more control,” Brown said. “Once you have it, you don’t lose it, so even though our population dropped below 5,000 we still have that designation.”

Diboll’s population had grown from 4,341 in 1990 to 5,470 in 2000, according to Census numbers.

According to numbers released Thursday, 12.1 percent, or 188, of Diboll’s 1,554 housing units were vacant in 2010.

Edwin Quarles’ e-mail address is equarles@lufkindailynews.com.