Suburban vs. Urban Growth in U.S. Metros




Now that we have the full set of 2017 population estimates, I wanted to examine a popular claim a little more closely. The claim is that suburban growth far exceeds that of core cities/counties, and it’s often repeated in media throughout the country. One of the things that always bothered me about this was the constant use of basing this claim largely on % change. This has a major flaw, one that I will go into more below.

For this little study, I will look at the top 50 largest metro areas.

First, let’s look at the total change in the whole metro area, the core county and the core city between the 2010 Census and July 1, 2017. They will be ranked here by total metro change.
1. Dallas, TX: +973,431
2. Houston, TX: +971,941
3. New York, NY: +754,396
4. Atlanta, GA: +597,993
5. Miami, FL: +592,525
6. Washington, DC: +580,228
7. Phoenix, AZ: +544,141
8. Los Angeles, CA: +524,946
9. Seattle, WA: +427,240
10. Austin, TX: +399,507
11. San Francisco, Ca: +391,784
12. Orlando, FL: +375,432
13. Riverside, CA: +355,705
14. Denver, CO: +344,635
15. San Antonio, TX: +331,458
16. Charlotte, NC: +308,313
17. Tampa, FL: +307,930
18. Boston, MA: +283,935
19. Las Vegas, NV: +252,810
20. Minneapolis, MN: +251,760
21. San Diego, CA: +242,343
22. Nashville, TN: +232,162
23. Portland, OR: +227,167
24. Raleigh, NC: +204,590
25. Columbus: +176,724
26. Sacramento, CA: +175,740
27. San Jose, CA: +161,523
28. Jacksonville, FL: +159,382
29. Indianapolis, IN: +140,524
30. Oklahoma City, OK: +130,746
31. Philadelphia, PA: +130,427
32. Kansas City, MO: +119,574
33. Salt Lake City, UT: +115,297
34. Baltimore, MD: +97,572
35. Richmond, VA: +86,117
36. New Orleans, LA: +85,903
37. Chicago: +71,499
38. Cincinnati: +64,396
39. Louisville, KY: +58,247
40. Virginia Beach, VA: +48,429
41. Memphis, TN: +23,433
42. Birmingham, AL: +21,751
43. Milwaukee, WI: +20,282
44. Providence, RI: +19,912
45. St. Louis, MO: +19,575
46. Detroit: +16,685
47. Buffalo, NY: +1,239
48. Hartford, CT: -2,139
49. Cleveland: -18,427
50. Pittsburgh, PA: -22,924

Now that we have the total growth, let’s break it down a bit more.

How much of the total metro change occurred in the core county of each metro? This will be ranked by the highest to lowest % occurring in the core county.

Core County Change—————-Core County % of Total Metro
1. Las Vegas: +252,810———————-100.00%
2. San Diego: +242,343———————-100.00%
3. San Jose: +161,523**———————100.00%
4. Buffalo: +6,488——————————100.00%
5. Salt Lake City: +105,994——————91.93%
6. Phoenix: +489,916————————–90.03%
7. Raleigh: +171,210————————–83.68%
8. San Antonio: +243,805——————–73.56%
9. Columbus: +128,567———————–72.75%
10. Los Angeles: +344,902——————65.70%
11. Sacramento: +111,827——————63.63%
12. Seattle: +257,400————————-60.25%
13. New York: +447,565*——————–59.33%
14. Tampa: +179,340————————-58.24%
15. Houston: +560,521———————–57.67%
16. New Orleans: +49,463——————-57.58%
17. Jacksonville: +88,902——————–55.78%
18. Riverside: +198,100———————-55.69%
19. Providence: +10,870———————54.59%
20. Orlando: +203,019————————54.08%
21. Oklahoma City: +69,325—————-53.02%
22. Louisville: +30,052———————–51.59%
23. Charlotte: +157,209———————50.99%
24. Austin: +202,432————————-50.67%
25. Miami: +255,361————————-43.10%
26. Memphis: +9,317————————39.76%
27. Minneapolis: +99,599——————-39.56%
28. Indianapolis: +46,689——————33.22%
29. Philadelphia: +41,866——————32.10%
30. Portland: +72,221———————–31.79%
31. Denver: +104,463**———————30.31%
32. Nashville: +64,663———————-27.85%
33. Boston: +75,916————————-26.74%
34. Richmond: +22,818**——————26.50%
35. Virginia Beach: +12,441**————25.69%
36. Dallas: +250,009————————25.68%
37. Chicago: +16,588———————–23.20%
38. Milwaukee: +4,350———————21.45%
39. Kansas City: +24,737—————–20.69%
40. Atlanta: +120,843———————-20.21%
41. San Francisco: +79,128**————20.20%
42. Cincinnati: +11,448——————–17.78%
43. Washington, DC: +92,249**———15.90%
44. Birmingham: +731———————-3.36%
45.¬†Hartford: +1,374————————-0.0%
46. Baltimore: -9,313**———————-0.0%
47. St. Louis: -10,668**———————0.0%
48. Detroit: -66,968————————–0.0%
49. Pittsburgh: -300———————– -1.31%
50. Cleveland: -31,608——————- -100.00%

*New York includes all 5 main boroughs, so it is different than core county, but still represents the urban center of the metro area.
**Core County and City are consolidated, or city exists as separate entity.

Going down even further, let’s compare the core city to the total metro, again ranked by %.

Core City Change————————Core City % of Total Metro
1. New York: +447,565————————-59.33%
2. New Orleans: +49,463———————–57.58%
3. San Antonio: +184,539———————-55.67%
4. San Jose: +89,375—————————55.33%
5. Columbus: +92,137————————–52.14%
6. Oklahoma City: +63,649——————–48.68%
7. San Diego: +112,114————————46.26%
8. Jacksonville: +70,278———————–44.09%
9. Philadelphia: +54,857———————–42.06%
10. Charlotte: +127,611————————41.39%
11. Louisville: +24,012————————-41.22%
12. Austin: +160,325—————————40.13%
13. Los Angeles: +207,138——————-39.46%
14. Las Vegas: +64,468———————–36.68%
15. Phoenix: +180,446————————-33.16%
16. Raleigh: +65,098—————————31.82%
17. Denver: +104,463————————–30.31%
18. Indianapolis: +42,557———————30.28%
19. Chicago: +20,852————————–29.16%
20. Portland: +64,029————————–28.19%
21. Nashville: +64,562————————-27.81%
22. Seattle: +116,085————————–27.17%
23. Richmond: +22,818**———————26.50%
24. Virginia Beach: +12,441**—————25.69%
25. Kansas City: +29,156———————24.38%
26. Boston: +67,500—————————23.77%
27. Memphis: +5,347————————–22.82%
28. Houston: +212,454————————21.86%
29. San Francisco**: +79,128—————20.20%
30. Sacramento: +35,413———————20.15%
31. Minneapolis: +41,412———————16.45%
32. Tampa: +49,721—————————-16.15%
33. Washington, DC: +92,249**————-15.90%
34. Dallas: +143,259—————————14.72%
35. Salt Lake City: +14,104——————-12.23%
36. Providence: +2,351————————11.81%
37. Orlando: +41,957—————————11.18%
38. Atlanta: +66,287—————————-11.08%
39. Miami: +54,122——————————9.13%
40. Cincinnati: +4,356————————–6.76%
41. Riverside: +23,857————————-6.71%
42. Milwaukee: +518—————————2.55%
43. Birmingham: -1,527———————–0.0%
44. Buffalo: -5,218——————————0.0%
45. Baltimore: -9,313**————————0.0%
46. St. Louis: -10,668**———————–0.0%
47. Detroit: -40,673—————————-0.0%
48. Pittsburgh: -3,297———————– -14.38%
49. Cleveland: -10,889——————— -59.09%
50. Hartford: -1,375————————- -64.28%

*Again, I used the 5 boroughs of New York here, so the numbers don’t change.
**See above.

Finally, because core counties and cities can be absolutely huge, like in Phoenix, I wanted to take see the ratio of people moving vs. the area size. To do this, I divided the growth by the land area of each core county and city.

So basically, how many people moved there per each square mile.

Core County Ratio——————————-Core City Ratio
1. San Francisco: 1,687.52————————-1,687.52
2. Washington, DC: 1,511.04———————-1,511.04
3. New York: 1,475.51——————————-1,475.51
4. Boston: 1,308.90———————————–1,394.05
5. Denver: 681.30————————————–681.30
6. Richmond: 379.67———————————-379.67
7. Houston: 329.14————————————354.33
8. Philadelphia: 312.43——————————-408.83
9. Charlotte: 300.02———————————–428.66
10. New Orleans: 291.95—————————-291.95
11. Dallas: 286.38————————————-420.73
12. Columbus: 241.67——————————-424.26
13. Atlanta: 229.30———————————–497.65
14. Orlando: 224.83———————————-398.75
15. Raleigh: 205.04———————————-455.87
16. Austin: 204.48————————————538.18
17. San Antonio: 196.62—————————-400.36
18. Minneapolis: 179.78—————————–754.32
19. Tampa: 175.82————————————438.38
20. Portland: 167.57———————————-481.42
21. Salt Lake City: 142.85—————————129.28
22. Miami: 134.54————————————-1,503.81
23. Nashville: 128.30———————————128.01
24. San Jose: 125.21———————————503.49
25. Seattle: 121.64————————————1,384.11
26. Indianapolis: 117.81——————————117.72
27. Jacksonville: 116.67——————————94.02
28. Sacramento: 115.88——————————361.65
29. Oklahoma City: 97.78—————————-105.89
30. Los Angeles: 84.99——————————-441.90
31. Louisville: 79.08———————————–63.11
32. San Diego: 57.84———————————344.76
33. Phoenix: 53.25————————————348.59
34. Virginia Beach: 49.96—————————-49.96
35. Kansas City: 40.96——————————-92.57
36. Las Vegas: 32.04———————————474.73
37. Cincinnati: 28.20———————————-55.89
38. Riverside: 27.49———————————–293.70
39. Providence: 26.51——————————–127.08
40. Milwaukee: 18.05———————————5.39
41. Chicago: 17.5————————————–91.72
42. Memphis: 12.21———————————–16.97
43. Buffalo: 6.22————————————– -128.52
44. Harford: 1.87————————————- -79.02
45. Birmingham: 0.66——————————- -10.46
46. Pittsburgh: -0.41——————————— -59.53
47. Cleveland: -69.16——————————- -140.14
48. Detroit: -109.42———————————- -293.14
49. Baltimore: -115.12—————————— -115.12
50. St. Louis: -172.34——————————- -172.34

So what’s all this mean? Columbus performs particularly well here. Franklin County attracts a high percentage of the total metro population, and Columbus itself is one of only 5 cities with more than 50% of the metro growth entering the city limits. Even accounting for area size, Columbus does fairly well. This suggests that urban growth there is stronger than in most cities.




In Franklin County, Young Adults Prefer Density

I’ve seen several articles across the internet lately questioning the idea that young professionals and Millennials really prefer urban areas or not. I decided to see how this played out in Franklin County overall. I first looked at the total population aged 20-34 in the year 2000 and the year 2015 by Census Tract.
Here were the maps for those years.

After looking at the numbers for both years, I came up with this map for how that age group had changed in the 2000-2015 period.

Unfortunately, some tracts, particularly in the eastern suburban areas, did not exist in 2000, and so I was not able to figure out the change for them during the period. The rest of the map, however, shows that the strongest growth in this age group was not only inside 270, but closest to Downtown and central corridors along Broad and High Streets.
These maps don’t tell us about the relationship between those changes and the population density of the census tracts. So I went further and broke the tracts into increments of density to see where the strongest growth was occurring.

With a few exceptions, there appears to be a correlation between average 20-34 aged population growth and the density of the census tracts it occurs in. This suggests that this age group, at least in Franklin County, prefers areas with moderate to high density, which typically translates to urban living.

The Recovery of Ohio’s 3-C Downtowns: Revisit

A little more than 4 years ago, I posted numbers on how Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland were recovering in their urban cores. See that post here: http://allcolumbusdata.com/?p=289 and here: http://allcolumbusdata.com/?p=312 That post has proven to be one of the site’s most popular. I figured it was time to take a look at their continuing changes.

You can see by the chart for the 1950 Boundary population, the urban core of each city, that all 3-Cs suffered population losses post-1950. However, the rate of losses gradually declined, and 2 of the cities, Columbus and Cincinnati, appear to be growing in this boundary since at least 2010. Cleveland continues to lose.

This is shown further by the chart below.

As far as the actual Downtowns of each, here are the population trends.

For the most part, population declines in the 3-Cs peaked around 1980, give or take a decade. Since then, all of them have seen increases, with Cleveland seeing the most rapid increase and Cincinnati the least. Columbus has seen steady, but increasingly rapid growth with each subsequent decade since 1980.

Here is the chart for Downtown growth by decade.

Census Tract Population Density 2015

The US Census recently released population data for census tracts. I figured midway through the decade would be a good point to update where these stand because they give greater insight in smaller-scale population changes. I looked at all the census tracts in Franklin County and came up with the following map series.

First, the population in 2015.

Next, the population density of tracts in 2010, as reference.

And now 2015.

On the surface, it’s difficult to see the changes, but put side by side, you can tell there have been a lot of increases across the county. To make this more visible, I made the following maps.

You can see that some of the strongest density increases occurred around Downtown and the Short North, New Albany, parts of the Campus area, and Dublin.

The map above gives a straightforward look at where the density increased and decreased. As you can see, the increases FAR outweighed the decreases. Most of the latter were scattered except across the Far South Side and parts of the Whitehall area.

Here were the top 20 most dense census tracts in 2015.
1. 1810: 29,508.2 South Campus/Victorian Village
2. 1121: 25,287.9 Main Campus
3. 13: 21,961.4 Campus/Indianola Terrace
4. 1110: 18168.6 North Campus/Tuttle Park
5. 10: 17386.3 Campus/SoHud
6. 12: 16,981.9 Campus/Iuka Ravine
7. 20: 13,030.5 Short North/Victorian Village
8. 17: 12,872.3 Weinland Park
9. 6: 12,153.6 Old North Columbus
10. 21: 10,853.5 Short North/High Street
11. 8163: 10,255.3 Lincoln Village/Southwest Columbus
12: 4810: 9,557.4 South Central Hilltop
13. 47: 9,492.7 North Central Hilltop
14. 6352: 9,434.0 Northwest Columbus/Henderson Road
15. 57: 9,257.4 Brewery District/South German Village
16. 5: 9,177.9 Old North Columbus
17. 6933: 9,090.9 Forest Park East
18. 16: 8,980.5 Weinland Park
19. 4620: 8,928.6 North Central Hilltop
20. 1820: 8743.3 Victorian Village

It’s obvious that the High Street corridor is the most dense of the city, racking up most of the top 20.

Now here are the 20 tracts with the largest density increases 2010-2015.
1. 1121: 4,375.9
2. 6: 2,178.5
3. 21: 1,934.9
4. 22: 1,478.1
5. 40: 1,107.7 South Downtown
6. 1820: 1,044.1
7. 20: 921.7
8. 38: 904.3 Old Towne East
9. 5: 861.2
10. 210: 833.9 Clintonville
11. 32: 751.1 Arena District West/West Victorian Village
12. 730: 736.9
13. 7551: 656.0 Somerset/South Easton
14. 7951: 610.4 West Columbus
15. 6372: 574.6 Hayden Falls/Sawmill Road
16. 7209: 514 New Albany
17. 7395: 497.6 Blacklick/East Broad
18. 10: 492.8
19. 8230: 449.3 Westland
20. 710: 447.3 West-Central Linden

And finally, the top 20 largest declines 2010-2015.
1. 13: -2,964.3
2. 12: -1,625.1
3. 42: -1,620.8 Scioto Peninsula/East Franklinton
4. 920: -902.2 Northeast Linden
5. 17: -775.4
6. 50: -554.4 Franklinton
7. 61: -485.7 South High Street
8. 59: -441.9 Near South Side/Deshler Park
9. 4620: -380.4
10. 720: -380.2
11. 4610: -335.4
12. 820: -305.4 North Linden
13. 7721: -305.2 North Linden
14. 45: -258.1 North Hilltop
15. 60: -253.2 Vassor Village
16. 810: North Central Linden
17. 7532: -240.3 Morse Road/Easton
18. 2520: -240.1 Near East Side/King-Lincoln
19. 47: -206.6
20. 9333: -194.9 Linwood

So there you have it.

Cool Link of the Day: Urb-I Urban Ideas

I saw this site mentioned on the CityLab site awhile back and thought it was a very cool idea. The site highlights how cities are transforming public spaces and making car-centric areas much more pedestrian, bike and transit friendly. Since I found the site, I have been lucky enough to become a regular contributor working to help make the site even better. The great thing is that anyone can send in before and after photos from their own cities of public space transformations. Take a look: http://www.urb-i.com/ The site covers cities across the world.

Columbus has several examples that I have added, but the photos are not yet updated on the site’s map. Until they are, here is a sneak peek:

Civic Center Drive

West Town Street

Columbus Commons