Metro Density Comparisons Part 1

Post Update 8/30/2013.

The Columbus Metropolitan Area resides within a group of metros between 1.5 and 2.5 million people. I wanted to take a look at population densities between that group of metros to see how different they really are and where Columbus might fall within them.

Metro Area Population in 2011 and 2012 by Rank
2011 2012
1. Pittsburgh: 2,359,746 — 1. Pittsburgh: 2,360,733
2. Portland, OR: 2,262,605 — 2. Charlotte: 2,296,569
3. San Antonio: 2,194,927 — 3. Portland, OR: 2,289,800
4. Sacramento: 2,176,235 — 4. San Antonio: 2,234,003
5. Orlando: 2,171,360 — 5. Orlando: 2,223,674
6. Cincinnati: 2,138,038 — 6. Sacramento: 2,196,482
7. Cleveland: 2,068,283 — 7. Cincinnati: 2,128,603
8. Kansas City: 2,052,676 — 8. Cleveland: 2,063,535
9. Las Vegas: 1,969,975 — 9. Kansas City: 2,038,724
10. San Jose, CA: 1,865,450 — 10. Las Vegas: 2,000,759
11. Columbus: 1,858,464 — 11. Columbus: 1,944,002
12. Charlotte: 1,795,472 — 12. Indianapolis: 1,928,982
13. Austin: 1,783,519 — 13. San Jose: 1,894,388
14. Indianapolis: 1,778,568 — 14. Austin: 1,834,303
15. Virginia Beach: 1,679,894 — 15. Nashville: 1,726,693
16. Nashville: 1,617,142 — 16. Virginia Beach: 1,699,925
17. Providence, RI: 1,600,224 — 17. Providence: 1,601,374
18. Milwaukee: 1,562,216 — 18. Milwaukee: 1,566,981

As you can see, this is a pretty diverse group, from the Northeast, Midwest, Sun Belt and West Coast.

Metro Area Size in Square Miles in 2011 and 2012 by Rank
20112012
1. Las Vegas: 8,091 — 1. Las Vegas: 8,091
2. Kansas City: 7,951 — 2. San Antonio: 7,387
3. San Antonio: 7,387 — 3. Kansas City: 7,374
4. Sacramento: 6,936 — 4. Sacramento: 6,936
5. Portland, Or: 6,817 — 5. Portland, OR: 6,817
6. Nasvhille: 5,763 — 6. Nashville: 6,379
7. Pittsburgh: 5,706 — 7. Pittsburgh: 5,706
8. Cincinnati: 4,394 — 8. Charlotte: 5,180
9. Austin: 4,280 — 9. Columbus: 4,850
10. Columbus: 3,967 — 10. Cincinnati: 4,394
11. Indianapolis: 3,888 — 11. Indianapolis: 4,341
12. Orlando: 3,491 — 12. Austin: 4,280
13. Virginia Beach: 2,647 — 13, Orlando: 3,491
14. Charlotte: 2,611 — 14. San Jose: 2,695
15. Cleveland: 1,997— 15. Virginia Beach: 2,647
16. Milwaukee: 1,823 — 16. Cleveland: 1,997
17. Providence: 1,636— 17. Milwaukee: 1,823
18. San Jose: 1,304 — 18. Providence: 1,636

Metro Area Population Density Per Square Mile in 2011 and 2012 by Rank
20112012
1. San Jose: 1,430.6 — 1. Cleveland: 1,033.3
2. Cleveland: 1,035.7 — 2. Providence: 978.8
3. Providence: 978.1 — 3. Milwaukee: 859.6
4. Milwaukee: 856.9 — 4. San Jose: 702.9
5. Charlotte: 687.7 — 5. Virginia Beach: 642.2
6. Virginia Beach: 634.6 — 6. Orlando: 637.0
7. Orlando: 622.0 — 7. Cincinnati: 484.4
8. Cincinnati: 486.6 — 8. Indianapolis: 444.4
9. Columbus: 468.5 — 9. Charlotte: 443.4
10. Indianapolis: 457.5 — 10. Austin: 428.6
11. Austin: 416.7 — 11. Pittsburgh: 413.7
12. Pittsburgh: 413.6 — 12. Columbus: 400.8
13. Portland, OR: 331.9 — 13. Portland: 335.9
14. Sacramento: 313.8 — 14. Sacramento: 316.7
15. San Antonio: 297.1 — 15. San Antonio: 302.4
16. Nashville: 280.6 — 16. Kansas City: 276.5
17. Kansas City: 258.2 — 17. Nashville: 270.7
18. Las Vegas: 243.5 — 18. Las Vegas: 247.3

Higher metro population doesn’t necessarily equate to higher density. The smaller metros tend to have higher densities. Columbus is middle of the pack.

Core County Population in 2011 and 2012 by Rank
20112012
1. Clark (Las Vegas): 1,969,975 — 1. Clark (Las Vegas): 2,000,759
2. Santa Clara (San Jose): 1,809,378 — 2. Santa Clara (San Jose): 1,837,504
3. Bexar (San Antonio): 1,756,153 — 3. Bexar (San Antonio) 1,785,704
4. Sacramento (Sacramento): 1,436,105 — 4. Sacramento (Sacramento): 1,450,121
5. Cuyahoga (Cleveland): 1,270,294 — 5. Cuyahoga (Cleveland): 1,265,111
6. Allegheny (Pittsburgh): 1,227,066 — 6. Allegheny (Pittsburgh): 1,229,338
7. Franklin (Columbus): 1,178,799 — 7. Orange (Orlando): 1,202,234
8. Orange (Orlando): 1,169,107 — 8. Franklin: (Columbus): 1,195,338
9. Travis (Austin): 1,063,130 — 9. Travis (Austin): 1,095,584
10. Milwaukee (Milwaukee): 952,532 — 10. Mecklenburg (Charlotte): 969,031
11. Mecklenburg (Charlotte): 944,373 — 11. Milwaukee (Milwaukee): 955,205
12. Marion (Indianapolis): 911,296 — 12. Marion (Indianapolis): 918,977
13. Hamilton (Cincinnati): 800,362 — 13. Hamilton (Cincinnati): 802,038
14. Multnomah (Portland): 748,031 — 14. Multnomah (Portland): 759,256
15. Jackson (Kansas City): 676,360 — 15. Jackson (Kansas City): 677,377
16. Davidson (Nashville): 635,475 — 16. Davidson (Nashville): 648,295
17. Providence (Providence): 626,709 — 17. Providence (Providence): 628,323
18. Virginia Beach (No County): 442,707 — 18. Virginia Beach (No County): 447,021

Core County Area Size in Square Miles in 2011 by Rank

Clark (Las Vegas): 8,091
Santa Clara (San Jose): 1,304
Bexar (San Antonio): 1,257
Travis (Austin): 1,022
Orange (Orlando): 1,004
Sacramento (Sacramento): 995
Allegheny (Pittsburgh): 745
Jackson (Kansas City): 616
Mecklenburg (Charlotte): 546
Franklin (Columbus): 544
Davidson (Nashville): 526
Multnomah (Portland): 466
Cuyahoga (Cleveland): 457
Providence (Providence): 436
Hamilton (Cincinnati): 413
Marion (Indianapolis): 403
Virginia Beach (No County): 248
Milwaukee (Milwaukee): 242

Core County Population Density Per Square Mile in 2011 and 2012 by Rank
20112012
1. Milwaukee (Milwaukee): 3,936.1 — 1. Milwaukee: 3,947.1
2. Cuyahoga (Cleveland): 2,779.6 — 2. Cuyahoga: 2,768.3
3. Marion (Indianapolis): 2,261.3 — 3. Marion: 2,280.3
4. Franklin (Columbus): 2,166.9 — 4. Franklin: 2,197.7
5. Hamilton (Cincinnati): 1,937.9 — 5. Hamilton: 1,942.0
6. Virginia Beach (No County): 1,785.1 — 6. Virginia Beach: 1,802.5
7. Mecklenburg (Charlotte): 1,729.6 — 7. Mecklenburg: 1,774.8
8. Allegheny (Pittsburgh): 1,647.1 — 8. Allegheny: 1,650.1
9. Multnomah (Portland: 1,605.2 — 9. Multnomah: 1,629.3
10. Sacramento (Sacramento): 1,443.3 — 10. Sacramento: 1,457.4
11. Providence (Providence): 1,437.4 — 11. Providence: 1,441.1
12. Bexar (San Antonio): 1,397.1 — 12. Bexar: 1,420.6
13. Santa Clara (San Jose): 1,387.6 — 13. Santa Clara: 1,409.1
14. Davidson (Nashville): 1,208.1 — 14. Davidson: 1,232.5
15. Orange (Orlando): 1,164.4 — 15. Orange: 1,197.4
16. Jackson (Kansas City): 1,098.0 — 16. Jackson: 1,099.6
17. Travis (Austin): 1,040.2 — 17. Travis: 1,072.0
18. Clark (Las Vegas): 243.5 — 18. Clark: 247.3

The core counties of metros within the Midwest are clearly the most dense, with most hovering around or above 2,000 people per square mile. Columbus has the 4th densist core county of the bunch.

City Population in 2011 and 2012 by Rank
20112012
1. San Antonio: 1,359,758— 1. San Antonio: 1,382,951
2. San Jose: 967,487— 2.San Jose: 982,765
3. Indianapolis: 827,609— 3. Austin: 842,592
4. Austin: 820,611— 4. Indianapolis: 836,507
5. Columbus: 797,434— 5. Columbus: 809,798
6. Charlotte: 751,087— 6. Charlotte: 775,202
7. Nashville: 609,644— 7. Nashville: 624,496
8. Milwaukee: 597,867— 8. Portland: 603,106
9. Portland: 593,820— 9. Milwaukee: 598,916
10. Las Vegas: 589,317— 10. Las Vegas: 596,424
11. Sacramento: 472,178— 11. Sacramento: 475,516
12. Kansas City: 463,202— 12. Kansas City: 464,310
13. Virginia Beach: 442,707— 13. Virginia Beach: 447,021
14. Cleveland: 393,806— Cleveland: 390,928
15. Pittsburgh: 307,484— Pittsburgh: 306,211
16. Cincinnati: 296,223— Cincinnati: 296,550
17. Orlando: 243,195— Orlando: 249,562
18. Providence: 178,053— Providence: 178,432


City Area Size in Square Miles in 2011 by Rank

Nashville: 527.9
Virginia Beach: 497.3
San Antonio: 412.1
Indianapolis: 372.0
Kansas City: 319.0
Charlotte: 297.7
Austin: 297.0
Columbus: 217.2
San Jose: 180.0
Portland: 145.1
Las Vegas: 135.8
Orlando: 110.7
Sacramento: 100.1
Milwaukee: 96.8
Cleveland: 82.5
Cincinnati: 79.4
Pittsburgh: 58.3
Providence: 20.5

City Population Density Per Square Mile in 2011 and 2012* by Rank
2011
1. Providence: 8,685.5— 1. Providence: 8,704.0
2. Milwaukee: 6,176.3— 2. Milwaukee: 6,187.1
3. San Jose: 5,374.9— 3. San Jose: 5,459.8
4. Pittsburgh: 5274.2— 4. Pittsburgh: 5,252.3
5. Cleveland: 4,773.4— 5. Sacramento: 4,750.4
6. Sacramento: 4,717.1— 6. Cleveland: 4,738.5
7. Las Vegas: 4,339.6— 7. Las Vegas: 4,391.9
8. Portland: 4,092.5— 8. Portland: 4,156.5
9. Cincinnati: 3,726.1— 9. Cincinnati: 3,734.9
10. Columbus: 3,671.4— 10. Columbus: 3,728.4
11. San Antonio: 3,299.6— 11. San Antonio: 3,355.9
12. Austin: 2,763.0— 12. Austin: 2,837.0
13. Charlotte: 2,523.0— 13. Charlotte: 2,604.0
14. Indianapolis: 2,224.8— 14. Orlando: 2,254.4
15. Orlando: 2,196.9— 15. Indianapolis: 2,248.7
16. Kansas City: 1,452.0— 16. Kansas City: 1,455.5
17. Nashville: 1,154.8— 17. Nashville: 1,183.0
18. Virginia Beach: 890.2— 18. Virginia Beach: 898.9

*2012 numbers assumes city area size did not change.

So for the most part, when it comes to metro density, Columbus runs mostly in the middle, although it does have a rather dense core county.

I’ll examine some tract densities in Part 2, as well as the overall trends for Columbus and w
here it might fall come 2020.