View Full Version : Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Are Suburban

June 21st, 2006, 12:24 PM
Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Are Suburban

Associated Press
June 21, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Elk Grove, Calif., wasn't even incorporated six years ago, and now it's the fastest-growing city in America.

Bigger, older cities are losing ground.

The Sacramento suburb grew by 11.6% last year, to 112,000 people, typifying the nation's appetite for open spaces, affordable homes and suburban living. Once a rural farming community, Elk Grove has given way to sprawling development, fueled by a short commute to Sacramento and local employers such as Apple Computer.

"Ten to 15 years ago is when the housing started coming in. That was followed by the businesses," says Janet Toppenberg, president and CEO of the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce.

Americans have been moving west and south for decades, and last year was no different. All but three of the 50 fastest-growing cities from 2004 to 2005 were in those regions of the country, with many in California and Florida, according to Census Bureau estimates Wednesday. The estimates were for cities with populations of 100,000 or more.

Elk Grove was followed in the top five by North Las Vegas, Nev.; Port St. Lucie, Fla.; Gilbert, Ariz., and Cape Coral, Fla.

All five are suburban, and all have fewer than 200,000 residents.

"We have a pattern that is consistent across the country," said Hans Johnson, a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. "Families choose to move to areas where they can buy more housing for less money and often with better schools."

Americans also are moving away from many of the nation's biggest cities though the reasons vary with the cities.

People are following jobs out of struggling Midwestern cities. Others are leaving expensive Northeastern and Western cities, including Boston, in search of more affordable homes. And people are fleeing big cities everywhere in search of better schools.

New York remained the nation's largest city, with 8.1 million people. The city has added 135,000 people since 2000, but it lost 21,500 from 2004 to 2005, more than any other city.

Detroit, with its struggling economy, has lost 65,000 people since 2000, the most of any city. Philadelphia, which has lost about 50,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000, has lost 54,000 people during the same period.

San Francisco, with the highest real estate prices in the country, has lost 37,000 people since 2000, according to the Census Bureau. Boston, with similarly high real estate prices, lost 1.5% of its population last year, the Census Bureau figures showed.

The bureau issues annual population estimates based on building permits, housing units and other changes since its 2000 headcount.

States sometimes dispute those estimates based on their own calculations. For example, California officials estimate that San Francisco has grown by 22,000 people since 2000, rather than shrinking. But even if the city did add people, it did so at a much slower rate than cities in the center of the state, said John Malson, a research manager for the state Department of Finance.

"The housing market out here has gone nuts, especially in the coastal areas," Mr. Malson said.

"The Central Valley is still more affordable than the coast," he added. "A lot of people are moving out from the Bay area."

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino's office said in a statement the city believes its population was undercounted for several reasons, including housing information that counts only new homes and administrative practices that do not count first-time tax filers. The city did not give its own population estimate.

Most of the big cities that gained population were in the South, according to the Census Bureau.

In overall numbers, Phoenix added the most people -- 44,400 -- from 2004 to 2005, giving it a population of nearly 1.5 million.

New Orleans, an exception in the South, had already lost population before Hurricane Katrina. The city lost about 30,000 people from 2000 to 2005, setting its population at 455,000, the Census Bureau said in an estimate made before the hurricane scattered hundreds of thousands of people.

Local officials estimate that New Orleans has rebounded to about 221,000 people since the storm.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press

June 21st, 2006, 12:31 PM
change from 2004 to 2005:

1. 8,143,197 New York City (-21,509)
2. 3,844,829 Los Angeles (+7,430)
3. 2,842,518 Chicago (-18,519)
4. 2,016,582 Houston (+5,463)
5. 1,463,281 Philadelphia (-7,974)
6. 1,461,575 Phoenix (+44,456)
7. 1,256,509 San Antonio (+21,420)
8. 1,255,540 San Diego (-8,276)
9. 1,213,825 Dallas (+4,996)
10. 912,332 San Jose (+9,572)
11. 886,671 Detroit (-12,451)
12. 784,118 Indianapolis (+1,462)
13. 782,623 Jacksonville (+6,519)
14. 739,426 San Francisco (-3,767)
15. 730,657 Columbus (+1,750)
16. 690,252 Austin (+9,504)
17. 672,277 Memphis (-1,244)
18. 635,815 Baltimore (-6,128)
19. 624,067 Fort Worth (+21,000)
20. 610,949 Charlotte (+12,743)

June 21st, 2006, 02:52 PM
Interesting that Chicago also lost quite a few folks from '04-'05.
Couldn't be the cost of living also?

Notice that only the really cool cities lost people, while the sprawling cities in the South and West gained.

June 21st, 2006, 03:06 PM
Detroit and Baltimore vs. L.A. (moderately cool) but yes sprawling in the West.

June 21st, 2006, 03:08 PM
Yeah there are a few exceptions, but generally that is the case.
Detroit (yikes!) is a different story altogether.

June 21st, 2006, 03:27 PM
Cool cities (like our own) are losing part of their population to decreased population density. (bigger apts, fewer people cramming into tiny apts - like me living with my partner in an apt that used to hold my landlord's entire family). Plus people are still moving to the sun belt for reasons I'll never appreciate. Who wants to live in Charlotte, NC?

June 21st, 2006, 04:02 PM
Central Air contractors.

June 21st, 2006, 04:04 PM
Central Air contractors.

Do you mean "conditioners" or are you suggesting that the contractors have some kind of supernaturally effective marketing? Either way, why move someplace warm only to stay inside all the time?

June 21st, 2006, 04:27 PM
That's what I always tell my southern cousins and friends who claim they have such great weather down there. Nonsense, they're slaves to their air conditioners.

June 21st, 2006, 06:16 PM
It's interesting that it looks and feels like New York is gaining new residents as the city is getting safer and more housing is built every day - it seems like there's new construction evewhere in 5 boroughs. But the statistics suggest otherwise. So who is leaving then? I assume that loads of new immigrants keep arriving especially from Mexico, Latin America and Asia (look at the growth of Brooklyn's Chinatown, for example). I assume most of those who left moved into NJ, Westchester, Long Island and other suburbs in the tri-state area

June 21st, 2006, 06:38 PM
So I always wonder though... does the census count immigrants? I know plenty of immigrants (I am one myself) who doesn't fill out any census stuff. Not even anyone in my family or friends. So how do they know how many people are in the cities based on lack of immigrants coaperation to be included? Especially on people who rent and doesn't owned property.

June 21st, 2006, 06:49 PM
The census goes by house or apt, so it should count you(!) in 2000 someone knocked on the door of my rented apt to give me a form. Not the most precise method, eh?

June 21st, 2006, 07:02 PM
Nature abhors a vacuum.

June 22nd, 2006, 09:03 AM
Do you mean "conditioners" or are you suggesting that the contractors have some kind of supernaturally effective marketing? Either way, why move someplace warm only to stay inside all the time?

Who installs the central air conditioners?

Who makes money off of installing them?

Who was the first man to swim the English Channel?

June 22nd, 2006, 09:05 AM
Nature abhors a vacuum.

It prefers a leaf-blower.

June 23rd, 2006, 12:27 PM
Can someone expplain to me this contrtadiction. All the official statistics shows that New York City has been losing residents to the suburbs and other states. Yet, there have been an enormous suply of new housing built in the last 5-6 years across all 5 boroughs and there's still talk about housing shortage. How is it possible if we're losing residents? Since most of the apartment/house purchases in NYC are done by residents as opposed to flippers/investors, it just does not seem to make sense.

Someone is filling up those new high-rise condos. Someone is buying those 3-5 floor new construction projects in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Why is the rental vacancy rate is so low if the city is losing people every year?

I am curious to know what other people think about this.

June 23rd, 2006, 12:49 PM
Reduced population density. All the new construction is luxury: the sq. footages are higher, and fewer people live there (no cramming an extended family in a one-family).

June 23rd, 2006, 01:16 PM
That doesn't explain it. Most new constructions have many more units than the old, decrepit two or three-story buildings that they replace. Nowhere have I seen tall apartment buildings being taken down and replaced with buildings that have one residence per floor. Furthermore, think about how many hotels and office buildings that have been converted to residential. There hasn't been any of that in the opposite direction. I'm curious myself about this idiosyncracy.

June 23rd, 2006, 01:19 PM
Do I smell figures cooking?

June 23rd, 2006, 01:29 PM
Do I smell figures cooking?

I can see how they can have a 21,000 discrepancy is such a large city. Many people are simply not accounted for in those large studies of the 8+ million residents. But logically, more people should be moving in than moving out. If you only look at the natural birth rate for some of the immigrant groups, the city population should be growing naturally. I don't know what it is, but the numbers have to be wrong.

June 23rd, 2006, 02:55 PM
Manhattan's population peaked several generations ago when it was a low rise city. In addition to residential population density, I'd also guess there's been an increase in the relative amount of commercial space in the city.

From a pdf (http://post.economics.harvard.edu/hier/2005papers/HIER2073.pdf):