Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Metro/County Census Results So Far (Plus a Brief Look at Jobs)

The state redistricting files continue to roll-out, and we’re getting a better picture on total population and some of the racial characteristics of states and localities.

Since I generally focus on large metros (greater than one million in population), I wanted to share the Census results so far for large metro areas. So here they are, sorted by percentage change over the last decade:

Rank Metro 2000 2010 Total Change Pct Change
1 Las Vegas-Paradise, NV 1,375,765 1,951,269 575,504 41.83%
2 Raleigh-Cary, NC 797,071 1,130,490 333,419 41.83%
3 Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX 1,249,763 1,716,289 466,526 37.33%
4 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 3,254,821 4,224,851 970,030 29.80%
5 Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ 3,251,876 4,192,887 941,011 28.94%
6 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 4,715,407 5,946,800 1,231,393 26.11%
7 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 1,711,703 2,142,508 430,805 25.17%
8 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 5,161,544 6,371,773 1,210,229 23.45%
9 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 1,311,789 1,589,934 278,145 21.20%
10 Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, CA 1,796,857 2,149,127 352,270 19.60%
11 Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO 2,157,756 2,543,482 385,726 17.88%
12 Salt Lake City, UT 968,858 1,124,197 155,339 16.03%
13 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 1,927,881 2,226,009 298,128 15.46%
14 Indianapolis-Carmel, IN 1,525,104 1,756,241 231,137 15.16%
15 Richmond, VA 1,096,957 1,258,251 161,294 14.70%
16 Oklahoma City, OK 1,095,421 1,252,987 157,566 14.38%
17 Columbus, OH 1,612,694 1,836,536 223,842 13.88%
18 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 3,043,878 3,439,809 395,931 13.01%
19 Kansas City, MO-KS 1,836,038 2,035,334 199,296 10.85%
20 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 2,968,806 3,279,833 311,027 10.48%
21 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 2,813,833 3,095,313 281,480 10.00%
22 Memphis, TN-MS-AR 1,205,204 1,316,100 110,896 9.20%
23 Birmingham-Hoover, AL 1,052,238 1,128,047 75,809 7.20%
24 Baltimore-Towson, MD 2,552,994 2,710,489 157,495 6.17%
25 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 1,576,370 1,671,683 95,313 6.05%
26 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 1,735,819 1,836,911 101,092 5.82%
27 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 1,148,618 1,212,381 63,763 5.55%
28 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 4,123,740 4,335,391 211,651 5.13%
29 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 5,687,147 5,965,343 278,196 4.89%
30 St. Louis, MO-IL 2,698,687 2,812,896 114,209 4.23%
31 Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI 9,098,316 9,461,105 362,789 3.99%
32 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 12,365,627 12,828,837 463,210 3.75%
33 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 1,500,741 1,555,908 55,167 3.68%
34 Pittsburgh, PA 2,431,087 2,356,285 -74,802 -3.08%
35 Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH 2,148,143 2,077,240 -70,903 -3.30%
36 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA 1,316,510 1,167,764 -148,746 -11.30%

Also, here’s updated US county map showing positive growth in blue, negative growth in red:

Percentage change in population 2000-2010 (Decennial Census). Growth in blue, decline in red.

Here’s a different view, showing counties growing faster than the US average (blue) vs. those declining (red). Note that this is on a percentage change basis. Interesting to see the concentration of growth.

Percentage change in population 2000-2001 (Decennial Census). Greater than US average in blue, below US average in red

2010 Job Growth

Last week’s metro area job release had the average employment for 2010, so we can look at the change over the last year. Here’s a look at percentage growth in total jobs (or sadly total decline in most places) in large metros last year (data in thousands of jobs):

Rank Metro 2009 2010 Total Change Pct Change
1 Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX 759.1 766.5 7.4 0.97%
2 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 726.0 732.9 6.9 0.95%
3 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 836.3 841.4 5.1 0.61%
4 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 2952.8 2964.1 11.3 0.38%
5 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH – Metro 2416.8 2425.9 9.1 0.38%
6 Pittsburgh, PA 1120.7 1123.7 3.0 0.27%
7 Rochester, NY 502.6 503.2 0.6 0.12%
8 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 2863.4 2862.4 -1.0 -0.03%
9 Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY 538.1 537.8 -0.3 -0.06%
10 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 2532.9 2529.2 -3.7 -0.15%
11 New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 8314.5 8298.8 -15.7 -0.19%
12 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA 520.4 519.4 -1.0 -0.19%
13 Columbus, OH 906.0 904.0 -2.0 -0.22%
14 Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA – Metro 542.0 540.7 -1.3 -0.24%
15 Baltimore-Towson, MD 1275.5 1272.1 -3.4 -0.27%
16 Indianapolis-Carmel, IN 872.9 870.0 -2.9 -0.33%
17 Salt Lake City, UT 609.6 607.2 -2.4 -0.39%
18 Raleigh-Cary, NC 498.3 496.3 -2.0 -0.40%
19 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 856.4 852.4 -4.0 -0.47%
20 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 1006.4 1001.6 -4.8 -0.48%
21 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 2711.4 2697.5 -13.9 -0.51%
22 St. Louis, MO-IL 1296.8 1290.1 -6.7 -0.52%
23 Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI 1741.4 1732.1 -9.3 -0.53%
24 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 812.3 807.9 -4.4 -0.54%
25 Oklahoma City, OK 559.8 556.3 -3.5 -0.63%
26 Richmond, VA 605.5 601.3 -4.2 -0.69%
27 Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO 1199.8 1191.2 -8.6 -0.72%
28 Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN 595.3 590.9 -4.4 -0.74%
29 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 973.8 965.5 -8.3 -0.85%
30 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 1231.4 1220.2 -11.2 -0.91%
31 Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH 1000.8 991.3 -9.5 -0.95%
32 Jacksonville, FL 586.5 580.8 -5.7 -0.97%
33 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 1705.7 1689.0 -16.7 -0.98%
34 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 740.8 733.5 -7.3 -0.99%
35 Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI 4291.4 4248.1 -43.3 -1.01%
36 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 2206.0 2183.3 -22.7 -1.03%
37 Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC 809.4 800.8 -8.6 -1.06%
38 Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN 992.3 981.6 -10.7 -1.08%
39 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA 2289.8 2258.3 -31.5 -1.38%
40 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT – Metro 539.9 532.3 -7.6 -1.41%
41 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 5196.2 5120.6 -75.6 -1.45%
42 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 1132.9 1116.0 -16.9 -1.49%
43 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 1913.3 1883.6 -29.7 -1.55%
44 Kansas City, MO-KS 979.5 963.9 -15.6 -1.59%
45 Birmingham-Hoover, AL 497.7 489.5 -8.2 -1.65%
46 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 1666.6 1636.0 -30.6 -1.84%
47 Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ 1722.2 1686.8 -35.4 -2.06%
48 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 1134.8 1111.2 -23.6 -2.08%
49 Memphis, TN-MS-AR 601.1 587.7 -13.4 -2.23%
50 Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, CA 831.5 807.9 -23.6 -2.84%
51 Las Vegas-Paradise, NV 826.9 801.4 -25.5 -3.08%

Data, tables, and maps in this post generated via Telestrian.


28 Responses to “Metro/County Census Results So Far (Plus a Brief Look at Jobs)”

  1. Eric says:

    Austin: State Capitol + Huge Flagship University + Texas + Tech. Who should be doing better than them in job numbers?

    Pittsburgh, Rochester, Buffalo near the top of the jobs list? Hmm. Wow. FIFO for the rust belt?

    Also, strange to see Phoenix, Las Vegas and Riverside at the top of one list and the bottom of the other. The end of growth economics, I suppose.

  2. I do have one nitpick: The colors on the second map hurt my eyes. I tried it on a couple of browsers, and it was the same effect. I don’t know if it is the shade of blue, or the combination of colors, but it is hard for me to look at.

    And not because I am in Chicago (which seems to be declining).

    Still, if this is an example of what your software can do, it is pretty impressive.

    I have thought about relocating to another part of the country with better opportunities and this site has been helpful WRT information. (I would rather go to another region of the country than relocate to the suburbs of Chicago. Of course, if I go to Dallas, I would not be moving to a city, but a very large suburb.)

  3. Chris Barnett says:

    Eric, jobs leave before people do.

    The Census is only good for looking at really long trends, definitely not economic cycles. Job changes follow a much shorter cycle than a decennial census; others have pointed out that 2000 was the top of the Internet Bubble, and 2010 was near the bottom of the recent recession.

    The only big obvious census trend: people move to coasts, mountains, and generally toward warmer weather. That describes the top 13 metros in growth: coastal, sunbelt, and/or mountainous.

    Note that NY, MA, FL, GA, SC data are yet to be released. Big deviation from the “megatrend” is unlikely.

  4. Eric says:

    Also…what is up with Atlanta? I’ve been wondering that for a while.

    Do internal migrants for whom The South appeals now feel like they have other good options, like Austin, Nashville and Dallas? It seemed like in the early 90’s Atlanta was one of just a couple southern options. Are the underwhelming numbers from Atlanta related to new regional competition?

    Did ATL and Delta’s expansion result in two decades of natural growth, which is now plateauing?

    I know Atlanta has encountered some natural growth boundaries, some related to water resources. Maybe this has put the brakes on just enough to stop the self-perpetuating growth cycle?

    If water can affect Atlanta, I wonder about Denver and Phoenix’s population, as well. Is there a natural cap that doesn’t exist in, say, Raleigh or Chicago?

  5. Eric says:

    Chris, I basically agree, but I don’t really accept the framing. If you say growth moves south east or west, and Utah and Colorado are considered either warm or coastal, you’re simply defining the terms so that the trend is “away from the Midwest.” It’s kind of like saying, “Over 95% of all murders take place within one week of a full or new moon.”

    Nearly ALL of Texas’ growth, and much of Phoenix’s and California’s, is due to Latin American immigration and their subsequent high birthrates. That’s mostly a factor of being close to Mexico. Good for them, but it’s not necessarily a factor of anything else. Chicago’s metro, for example, has gained about 1,000,000 per decade for the last 30 years. Not many metros have added more. Colorado is growing like crazy and it’s as far from a coast as Milwaukee and also shares latitude with Wisconsin. Most counties in Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin are growing faster than average.

    Clearly the Midwest as a region trails in a lot of ways. I don’t think that’s because the Midwest isn’t near an ocean and I think temperatures are secondary. Boston and Cleveland have nearly identical weather.

  6. Henry Saint Clair says:

    It is interesting that in every state save Vermont there is at least one area that is growing faster than the national average. Are people clumping to opportunities in their states or regions? Is Des Moines mainly sucking in people from the Iowa countryside?

  7. Chris Barnett says:

    A water diversion:

    There is no evidence of a national trend to pay more attention to water resources, or to limit metro growth based on water availability. I’d argue the opposite: as long as people SEE what they perceive as “plenty of water”, they don’t worry about it.

    After all, it falls from the sky.

    10 of those top 12 growth metros are in water-limited areas, and the list doesn’t include Florida or Georgia yet. Texas and Florida have suffered far more recently from instances of too much water (hurricanes) than from not enough (droughts). Yet freshwater supply on the west coast of Florida and in Texas’ growth centers is an issue.

    Las Vegas, a metro with a miniscule annual rainfall, was the fastest growing sprawlburg on the continent. I’d argue that growth there in spite of water limitations is partly a matter of regional psyche. There’s lots of water easily visible: a huge river and lake are nearby and the city showcases its man-made water features.

    In fairness, the Las Vegas and Southern Nevada water-supply authorities have worked hard to maximize supply, reduce demand, and encourage recycling of gray water and municipal sewage. They have made the most of their limited supply, and they may have succeeded in convincing residents that the supply isn’t endless.

  8. Eric, something to consider is that the Census data is a 10 year change and the jobs data is a one year change, and a tough year at that. It’s probably not fair to really compare them.

  9. Chris Barnett says:

    Eric, clearly the places that are the most rural, cold, and flat/inland are losing population. Places that are all three are losing a high percentage of population. The places that are urban, warm, and have geographic features are growing. The variables play off each other differently, though.

    Chicago metro grew 360K in the last 10 years. Denver added more people over that span on a much smaller base, and Portland added nearly as many: terrain wins.

    Dallas and Houston each added more than 4x the Chicagoland gain: climate wins huge.

    But Chicagoland grew by more people than every other (smaller) midwestern metro, and rural Midwestern counties lost population while metro areas gained: urban wins when climate and terrain are relatively the same.

  10. Eric says:


    What you’re saying isn’t fully wrong, but it it’s clearly not fully right, either. If you want to say that things are clearly very simple, then they have to be very simple.

    If you state that what matters is climate and proximity to the coasts–that’s it–it sounds weird to then amend it to include other features whenever a contrary example is presented, like urbanity and mountains–though I’m not sure how that explains Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin’s above average growth. If we’re going to end up with tautologies, I’m willing to acknowledge right now that growing places have all the features that growing places have.

  11. Javier says:

    Somebody forgot Charlotte on the fastest growing list, although part of its metro is in SC, whose Census figures have not yet been released.

  12. Javier, that’s why Charlotte is not yet listed. We’ve got to wait for all the counties to be released before the calculations can be done.

  13. Chris Barnett says:

    Eric, “clearly” doesn’t mean “simple” or “only”.

    The big story is very clearly observable: the 13 fastest growing US metros on the list have significant “geography” (are coastal or mountainous), or are warmer-weather places. Full stop.

    So with two fairly simple descriptors, I’ve managed to rope the 13 fastest growing US metros.

    The cooler/colder coastal or mountain cities fall to the bottom of that group at #11, 12, 13, suggesting that “warmer climate” is more important than “geography”.

    No Midwest, Great Plains or Northeastern metro appears in those top 13 spots. The first metro that is not coastal, mountainous, or warm weather is in 14th place (Indianapolis).

    We can try to explain away or dismiss the big, long-term US preference for migration toward metros and especially towards those with warmer weather, but it’s there and it’s not going away. I have written many times before in comments on this blog: don’t discount climate. Census 2010 data (and several before it) prove it’s a real “voting with feet” factor.

    Just like the 60-year preference for suburbs.

  14. AF says:

    Eric, 3-17-11, 12:25

    “Colorado is growing like crazy and it’s as far from a coast as Milwaukee and also shares latitude with Wisconsin.”

    Allow this geography nerd/former Wisconsinite a nit-pick: latitude-wise, Colorado lines up with central and southern Illinois. Southernmost WI is a good 150 miles or so north of northernmost CO.

  15. Will you update this post when data for the other states come out?

  16. When the rest of the states are out, I’ll either update it or post something new. Aaron.

  17. Alon Levy says:

    New York is coastal, and has mountains rising 45 degrees from the Hudson north of city limits. Its population growth is still glacial.

    Dallas is not coastal, is in flat terrain, and has harsh summers. But its population growth is meteoric.

    The main issue is not weather – it’s early versus late industrialization. The cities that were part of the American manufacturing network in 1900 are growing slowly, and the cities that weren’t are growing fast.

  18. Thad says:

    Affordability and quality of life are major factors too. You can get a much larger house in a nice neighborhood with good schools for much less in Texas, Tennessee, or North Carolina than in most other places, and probably be able to find a decent paying job too. In combination with all other factors, it isn’t surprising how they are beating out even large cities with the same appealing climate factor like LA and Miami.

  19. Daniel says:

    I loved the post and the stats put out. My one comment would be the colors on the map. I would always see blue as decline and red as growth, so I was reading the map backwards until I figured out your color scheme.

  20. jim says:

    “Nearly ALL of Texas’ growth, and much of Phoenix’s and California’s, is due to Latin American immigration and their subsequent high birthrates. That’s mostly a factor of being close to Mexico.”


    Texas also has oil which is a nice cushion in tough times like these.

    Florida also has a lot of external immigration as well as domestic migrants. The problem for Florida is that in addition to having a solid outflow of people moving to GA and the Carolinas – the recent loss in housing wealth and retirement portfolios have ended or seriously curtailed the relocation plans of a lot of retirees looking to FL.

  21. John Morris says:

    @Alon Levy

    “The main issue is not weather – it’s early versus late industrialization. The cities that were part of the American manufacturing network in 1900 are growing slowly, and the cities that weren’t are growing fast.”

    This rings almost always true and worthy of an extended blog post.

  22. Alon Levy says:

    @John: according to Ed Glaeser, the effect of weather is that before modern medicine, hot climate caused diseases, so it was harder to develop; therefore, hotter places took longer to industrialize. The reasons I didn’t mention this are that this effect isn’t true in all countries (Toulouse, the fastest growing city in Europe, is not especially warm, but is a late industrializer), and that many late-industrializing not-too-cold regions were famous even in the 19th century for having good climate and no major epidemics, for example Oregon.

  23. John Morris says:

    The climate factor is mostly self evident. What’s interesting is that you can compare Indianapolis, to Gary, Indiana or Columbus to Cleveland in Ohio and get the same result. Compare NYC to Newark.

    Capitals are mostly doing OK, and government spending/power is a big reason. Even so, in capitals, one has cities that exist beyond immediate production.

    My guess is there’s a different view of the city itself, as a place for trade and exchange; as a cultural center, that goes beyond disposable.

    A lot of it came from a slowness to allow other land uses and other potentials to develop on the assumption that manufacturing would always be solid.

  24. Alon Levy says:

    Some capitals are doing fine; others are bleeding. Trenton is still a complete shithole, while Newark has already started to turn itself around.

  25. John Morris says:

    Given Newark’s location, I’d hardly give it a prize for turning itself around.

    I think it’s logical that many of the most anti urban attitudes and fastest leaps towards “urban renewal” came from the heavy industrial cities.

    Pittsburgh is sort of a wierd mix in that because of geography, the bulk of the biggest steel mills had never been in the city itself.

    There is a mental attitude in these places in which they self defined thier future around one thing.

    Nashville, Atlanta and Indianapolis have significant pasts in industry but never let that define them.

    I would also add waterfront Brooklyn and Queens to this mix in that the city and borough leaders limited their growth by tying them to a very specific industrial past.

  26. John Morris says:

    I also think that in some cases, the geography that made these places also limited them.

    The Mon Valley towns outside of Pittsburgh sit on very narrow flood plains–on a river that still floods. This may have made them great places for steel mills, but not so great for a lot else. How many high tech manufacturers are cool with occasional major floods?

    All the press about John Fetterman in Braddock rarely points out that half the town is vulnerable to floods.

    My guess is that Cleveland and Buffalo are limited by Lake effect snow.

  27. These maps are like election maps: Blue is good, red is bad.


    Thanks! You’re beautiful! I’ll be commenting all week!

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