Markets for new road - Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Wash DC, Miami show biggest population growth

April 1, 2012

2000 to 2010 the largest absolute population growth was in Houston TX 1.12m (3.82m to 4.94m), Atlanta GA 1.01m (3.50m to 4.52m), Dallas TX 0.98m (4.15m to 5.12m), Phoenix AZ 0.72m (2.91m to 3.63m), Washington DC 0.65m (3.93m to 4.59m), Miami FL 0.58m (4.92m to 5.50m). Even without growth in per capita driving these are the leading markets for new highway capacity.

And where should they be looking to retire highway capacity?

Where population is in serious decline: Detroit lost 0.17m (3.90m to 3.73m) and New Orleans 0.11m (1.01m to 0.90m).

These are from US Census Bureau data released last week. All comparisons are 2010 versus 2000.

(For simplicity we use the first name of urban areas, most of which the Census Bureau gives compound names.  And when we say 'city' here we use the term interchangeably with urban area  - and of course it has nothing to do with the local government boundaries.)

The most rapid proportionate change is in tiny places some of which you've probably never heard of. McKinney TX grew 212% from 54k to 170k, Avondale AZ from 68k to 197k or 190%, Conroe TX 89k to 240k 168%, Lady Lake FL 51k to 113k 123% and West Bend WI 33k to 68k 106%, El Centro CA 53k to 108k 103% and Hilton Head SC 34k to 69k or 101%.

Of the bigger metro areas the fastest proportional growth was Charlotte NC/SC whose growth was 65% (from 0.76m to 1.25m), Raleigh NC 63% (0.54m to 0.88m), Austin TX 51% (0.90m to 1.36m), Las Vegas NV 43% (1.31m to 1.89m), San Antonio TX 32% (1.33m to 1.76m), Houston 29% (3.82m to 4.94m) and Atlanta 29% (3.50m to 4.51m).

The 2010 ranking of urban areas by population was #1 New York 18.35m, #2 Los Angeles 12.15m, #3 Chicago 8.61m, #4 Miami 5.50m, #5 Philadelphia 5.44m, #6 Dallas 5.12m, #7 Houston 4.94m, #8 Washington DC 4.59m, #9 Atlanta 4.51m, #10 Boston 4.18m.

There's a few changes there from the 2000 ranking of these cities.  The first three remain the same.

In 2000 Philadelphia was #4 in rank at 5.14m and Miami was #5 4.91m. They've swapped rankings.

Also in 2000 #7 was Boston at 4.03m followed by #8 Washington DC 3.93m, Detroit #9 3.90m, Houston #10 3.82m.

Dallas kept #6 place.

Houston has hopped up from #10 to #7. Boston dropped from #7 to #10.

Washington DC kept #8 ranking.

Atlanta took #9 ranking from Detroit which was bumped down to #11. They'd been the other way around in 2000.

The first three urban areas hardly grew proportionately 2000 to 2010: New York 3.1%, Los Angeles 3.1%, Chicago 3.6%.

2010 #4 MIami grew 12%, #5 Philadelphia 5.7%, #6 Dallas 23%, #7 Houston 29%, #8 Washington DC 17%, Atlanta 29%, Boston 3.7%.

Detroit lost 4.3%.

Some surprises:

Indianapolis IN grew strongly 2000 to 2010: from 1.22m to 1.49m, 22%.

The big California cities aren't growing much at all. LA and New York grew just 3.1% each but in absolute terms New York added more people - 551k than LA 361k.

San Francisco  population virtually stagnated at 3.28m from 3.23m, 1.6% up in the decade.  
And San Juan PR is losing population going from 2.23m down to 2.15m 3.1% fewer people.

We woouldn't have guessed that unlike Pittsburgh, Cleveland etc Philadelphia is growing - by 290k people or 5.5%, more percentagewise than NY City, Chicago and LA. Still just as it was passed 2000-2010 by Miami Philadelphia is set to be eclipsed quite soon on the league ladder by Dallas and Houston. And perhaps Atlanta too 2010-2020.

Heck maybe Indianapolis is not a surprise - the brilliant pro-market Mitch Daniels is governor. And profligate taxes and public debt are weighing heavily against California.

then there's the wonderful website and this on the 'best growth' cities:

TOLLROADSnews 2012-03-31

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