Friday, April 4th, 2014
Last week the Census Bureau released 2013 population estimates for counties and metro areas. There are three main takeaways I saw: 1) the increasing dominance of large metro areas 2) the continued move to the Sunbelt and 3) deceleration of the exurbanization rate.
For the dominance of large metros, Richard Florida wrote this up over at Atlantic Cities. Here’s his money chart:
Clearly not all large metros are booming. And there are definitely thriving smaller places as well. But in the current economy, there’s a minimum scale you need to really be a viable competitor. I put that at 1-1.5 million in regional population. If you’re smaller than that, as a general rule you need some unique competitive asset such as oil (Fargo), state capital (Des Moines), a major university (Lafayette, IN), or some such. These figures are just more evidence for why aligning state economic development strategies is the right move. Don’t fight the tape.
By the way, some commenters criticized Florida for not including larger size categories and not proving correlation between size and population growth. But I don’t see that as the argument. Rather, it’s about the minimum viable scale issue. There’s a threshold value you need to hit.
The continued regional population shift to the South, and to a somewhat lesser extent the West, was well-highlighted by Wendell Cox. This isn’t popular in urban circles, but just as with the above, we have to start with actual reality. There was some view that the Great Recession would pop a Sunbelt bubble, but it doesn’t seem to have happened. Even a place with no heritage as a business center like Phoenix is growing again.
On the exurban migration change, a lot of core metro counties did better than expected. For example, Hamilton County, Ohio (Cincinnati) is shown as physically adding more people than any other county in the metro area. This is a county that has lost about 120,000 people since it’s peak population. Urban Cincy has the complete roundup.
I generally say that we should operate off of gold standard data (the Census Bureau’s population estimates being one such source) without trying to attack it when it doesn’t say what we like. So I’m going to roll with the headline numbers on county populations for the time being. But I do want to point out that last decade the Census Bureau vastly over-estimated urban populations. (Did the Census miss people in some locations like New York? Undoubtedly. But it’s hard to argue that the Census couldn’t find 25% of the entire population of the city of Atlanta. Outside of a handful of locales like Queens, I think the idea of large scale miscounts is off base). This decade the Census, much like state DOTs and their highway forecasts, has continued to double down on a false trend line. That’s why I say they may be on track for another estimating fiasco.
I would certainly encourage localities to correlate these estimates with other important data sources, especially hard count data for building permits and school enrollment, plus abandoned housing estimates. Can you foot those numbers to other things that are going on in your city?
Here’s a rundown of the statistics. All of these are only looking at metro areas of more than one million people.
Top 10 regions for net domestic migration:
|1||Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||39,208||55,466||32,641||127,315|
|2||Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX||22,547||38,789||55,620||116,956|
|3||Austin-Round Rock, TX||30,240||31,041||25,908||87,189|
|6||San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX||19,491||21,508||22,392||63,391|
|10||Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL||26,849||5,960||12,262||45,071|
Top 10 Regions for Net International Migration:
|1||New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA||119,836||124,773||128,042||372,651|
|2||Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL||48,925||51,367||52,706||152,998|
|3||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||47,305||47,998||49,798||145,101|
|5||Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX||24,597||24,716||25,504||74,817|
|8||San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||22,073||22,903||23,534||68,510|
|9||Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||19,033||18,869||19,501||57,403|
Here is a list of all large metro areas, ranked by percentage population change since July 1, 2010. Total population change is also included:
|Rank||Metro Area||2010||2013||Total Change||Pct Change|
|1||Austin-Round Rock, TX||1,727,784||1,883,051||155,267||8.99%|
|3||Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX||5,948,689||6,313,158||364,469||6.13%|
|5||San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX||2,153,288||2,277,550||124,262||5.77%|
|7||Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||6,452,758||6,810,913||358,155||5.55%|
|10||Oklahoma City, OK||1,257,883||1,319,677||61,794||4.91%|
|14||Salt Lake City, UT||1,091,452||1,140,483||49,031||4.49%|
|15||Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL||5,581,524||5,828,191||246,667||4.42%|
|16||San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||1,842,076||1,919,641||77,565||4.21%|
|17||Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA||5,304,197||5,522,942||218,745||4.12%|
|18||San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||4,344,584||4,516,276||171,692||3.95%|
|19||Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV||1,953,106||2,027,868||74,762||3.83%|
|20||New Orleans-Metairie, LA||1,195,757||1,240,977||45,220||3.78%|
|22||San Diego-Carlsbad, CA||3,104,182||3,211,252||107,070||3.45%|
|25||Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||4,244,089||4,380,878||136,789||3.22%|
|27||Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||3,355,167||3,459,146||103,979||3.10%|
|29||Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL||2,788,961||2,870,569||81,608||2.93%|
|31||Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI||989,196||1,016,603||27,407||2.77%|
|33||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||12,844,070||13,131,431||287,361||2.24%|
|35||Kansas City, MO-KS||2,013,691||2,054,473||40,782||2.03%|
|36||Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN||1,237,851||1,262,261||24,410||1.97%|
|37||New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA||19,596,183||19,949,502||353,319||1.80%|
|38||Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC||1,680,120||1,707,369||27,249||1.62%|
|43||Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI||1,556,549||1,569,659||13,110||0.84%|
|45||St. Louis, MO-IL||2,789,893||2,801,056||11,163||0.40%|
|49||Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT||1,214,014||1,215,211||1,197||0.10%|
|51||Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY||1,135,314||1,134,115||-1,199||-0.11%|