Exurbia in the Columbus Metro

I hear all the time how Columbus is extremely suburban (low density) in its development. But where does it actually rank with its peers? One metric is looking at exurbia, the far outer suburban areas that are largely made up of sprawl.

I looked at metros of similar size to Columbus (1.5-2.5 million).

Metro Population Living in Exurbia, 2000
1. Nashville, TN: 23.1%
2. Austin, TX: 21.8%
3. Charlotte, NC: 16.7%
4. Orlando, FL: 14.7%
5. San Antonio, TX: 12.6%
6. Indianapolis, IN: 10.5%
7. Kansas City, KS: 9.0%
8. Cincinnati: 6.7%
9. Virginia Beach: 6.0%
10. Portland, OR: 5.8%
11. Columbus: 4.9%
12. Sacramento, CA: 4.1%
13. Las Vegas, NV: 3.1%
14. Providence, RI: 2.9%
15. Milwaukee, WI: 2.8%
16. San Jose, CA: 1.1%
17. Cleveland: 1.0%
18. Pittsburgh, PA: 0.8%

Metro Population Living in Exurbia, 2010
1. Austin, TX: 32.3%
2. Nashville, TN: 27.9%
3. Charlotte, NC: 22.7%
4. Orlando, FL: 21.7%
5. San Antonio, TX: 20.3%
6. Indianapolis: 15.8%
7. Kansas City, KS: 14.4%
8. Las Vegas, NV: 10.6%
9. Cincinnati: 8.8%
10. Columbus: 7.7%
11. Sacramento, CA: 7.7%
12. Virginia Beach, VA: 7.4%
13. Portland, OR: 6.7%
14. Milwaukee, WI: 3.3%
15. Providence, RI: 3.2%
16. Cleveland: 1.7%
17. Pittsburgh, PA: 1.1%
18. San Jose, CA: 1.1%

Metro Population Living in Exurbia Total % Change 2000-2010
1. Las Vegas, NV: +389.9%
2. Sacramento, CA: +123.5%
3. Austin, TX: +103.8%
4. San Antonio, TX: +101.6%
5. Orlando, FL: +92.0%
6. Charlotte, NC: +82.5%
7. Columbus: +78.4%
8. Kansas City, KS: +75.6%
9. Indianapolis, IN: +72.9%
10. Cleveland: +58.3%
11. Nashville, TN: +46.4%
12. Cincinnati: +38.7%
13. Portland, OR: +33.5%
14. Virginia Beach, VA: +31.2%
15. Pittsburgh, PA: +28.0%
16. Milwaukee, WI: +20.8%
17. Providence, RI: +10.3%
18. San Jose, CA: +9.0%

So what these numbers show is that Columbus is actually in the bottom half of exurban population vs. it’s 17 peers, but is in the top half of growth in that population. As can be imagined, a large part of this growth came before the recession.

Metro Exurban Population Growth 2000-2007
1. Las Vegas, NV: +285.2%
2. Sacramento, CA: +104.2%
3. Orlando, FL: +78.3%
4. Austin, TX: +74.2%
5. Columbus: +62.0%
6. Charlotte, NC: +58.4%
7. San Antonio, TX: +56.2%
8. Kansas City, KS: +55.4%
9. Indianapolis, IN: +46.4%
10. Nashville, TN: +30.6%
11. Portland, OR: +29.1%
12. Cleveland: +27.0%
13. Cincinnati: +26.2%
14. Virginia Beach, VA: +25.7%
15. Pittsburgh, PA: +16.5%
16. Milwaukee, WI: +13.3%
17. Providence, RI: +10.9%
18. San Jose, CA: +5.9%

Metro Exurban Population Growth 2007-2010
1. San Antonio, TX: +29.1%
2. Las Vegas, NV: +27.2%
3. Cleveland: +24.7%
4. Indianapolis, IN: +18.0%
5. Austin, TX: +17.0%
6. Charlotte, NC: +15.3%
7. Kansas City, KS: +13.7%
8. Nashville, TN: +12.1%
9. Columbus: +10.1%
10. Cincinnati: +9.9%
11. Pittsburgh, PA: +9.8%
12. Sacramento, CA: +9.5%
13. Orlando, FL: +7.7%
14. Milwaukee, WI: +6.7%
15. Virginia Beach, VA: +4.3%
16. Portland, OR: +3.3%
17. San Jose, CA: +2.9%
18. Providence, RI: -0.6%

Average Annual Rate Change Between 2000-2007 and 2007-2010
1. Cleveland: +117.1%
2. Pittsburgh, PA: +45.5%
3. San Antonio, TX: +34.8%
4. San Jose, CA: +25.0%
5. Milwaukee, WI: +22.2%
6. Indianapolis, IN: +1.8%
7. Nashville, TN: +0.0%
8. Cincinnati: -5.9%
9. Charlotte, NC: -29.4%
10. Kansas City, KS: -32.3%
11. Austin, TX: -34.1%
12. Columbus: -53.5%
13. Virginia Beach, VA: -57.6%
14. Las Vegas, NV: -60.8%
15. Portland, OR: -70.3%
16. Orlando, FL: -70.9%
17. Sacramento, CA: -71.0%
18. Providence, RI: -113.3%

So there you have it. Columbus is definitely not anywhere near the sprawl king it’s often made out to be, even within its own peer group. Outside of it, there are dozens of metros with far more.



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Ohio’s Improving Growth Outlook

Back in November, I wrote about Ohio’s improving domestic growth picture. In that post, I examined domestic out-migration and domestic in-migration 2005-2012, and discovered that the net change had been improving. The state was losing fewer people over time domestically, and the difference had declined to under 2,000 people by 2012, a HUGE improvement from the start of the period.

Recently, the US Census released 2013 state population estimates, along with components of population change for the July 1st, 2012-July 1st, 2013 period. More positive news was to be found in those estimates.

First, Ohio’s population increased to 11,570,808, representing an annual increase of 17,777. While the increase is not particularly great, especially in comparison to states nationally, there are some positive nuggets with that number. The state held on to its position as the 7th most populous state, and the increase was the highest since pre-recession. The state moved up 18 spots in the total annual growth rankings 2012-2013 vs. 2011-2012. This was the best increase of all 50 states. It was also the best growth for the state since 2007.

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Did the state bottom out in 2012? Perhaps, but way too early to tell. Still, a very good improvement that halted a general decline.

The components of change are also interesting.

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The migration patterns show a few things. First, 2013 had the 2nd highest rate since 2000 of in-international migration. It was also one of the best years (since 1996) for domestic in-migration.

The question is, can Ohio keep improving or is this just a temporary blip? Time will tell.

How Cold/Snowy Was January Really?

There has been a lot of talk about this winter and how bad it has been, especially in January, where the term “polar vortex” became a household name. Of course, polar vortexes are a fairly common winter term in the meteorological community and they happen every single year somewhere. The only real difference this year has been that it came further south in some areas than normal. Combined with frequent snowfalls, it has given the perception that the winter overall has been unusually severe. But how does the winter so far, and January 2014, stack up historically?

First, let’s look at temperatures since December 1st, the start of meteorological winter.

For December 1st to January 31st, the average temperature has been 28.75 degrees. Normal for this period is 31.55 degrees, so it has been below normal by 2.8 degrees. But is that departure from normal really historically bad? Not really. In fact, it doesn’t even rank in the top 20 coldest. However, the average temperature alone doesn’t really tell the whole story. January, in particular, was very cold overall, with an average of just 22.8 degrees. That DID rank the month in the top 20, at #15 out of more than 135 years of records. It also featured 7 days with low temperatures at or below 0 degrees. Only a handful of other years featured more than that, even though the coldest low of the month (-11) did not come close to the coldest readings on record. So it has been more about repeated bouts of cold rather than record cold.

Next, we’ll look at seasonal snowfall through January 31st. This is where the 2013-2014 winter really begins to take its place in history. After having the snowiest 1st 10 days of December on record, the winter has continued to add to its totals. Through January 31st, Columbus had received 35.1″ of snow, which was already 6.2″ above what would fall for an ENTIRE SEASON, let alone through that date. In fact, the season was more than 20″ above normal by then. The 35.1″ is also the 6th highest total by the 31st of any winter on record, and the 17.7″ that fell during January made it the 16th snowiest, and this was after the 8th snowiest December on record, with 12.7″. Even if not a flake of snow more fell the rest of the winter, it would still end up as the 30th snowiest.

February is looking to keep with the same winter pattern, at least for the next week or two. A winter storm warning is currently in effect for 8-10″ of snow for the Columbus area and continued below normal temperatures. Could the 2013-2014 winter season end up in the record books? Yes, and already has. With the current storm bearing down and potentially more on the horizon, the season will keep moving up.