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Skyybutter

US Census 2004 population estimates

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A lot of people have expressed concerns that Wake County could pass Mecklenburg County in population. What do people think about the significance of that? To me, it really does not matter so much. The population of the municipalities is more important I think as well as the MSAs. More of Charlotte's growth is now occurring in suburban counties than Raleigh's growth. Charlotte is still bigger than Raleigh if you look at city, UA, or MSA populations.

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Growth in North Carolina's 15 most populated counties

County - County Seat - 2004 Est. Pop. - Growth - % Change

Mecklenburg - Charlotte ----- 771,617 - +18,568 - +2.41%

Wake --------- Raleigh ------- 719,520 - +21,197 - +2.95%

Guilford ------ Greensboro --- 438,795 - +4,437 - +1.01%

Forsyth ------ Winston-Salem 320,919 - +3,489 - +1.09%

Cumberland - Fayetteville --- 308,489 - +1,186 - +0.38%

Durham ------ Durham ------- 239,733 - +3,747 - +1.56%

Buncombe --- Asheville ------ 215,680 - +2,452 - +1.14%

Gaston ------- Gastonia ------ 194,459 - +1,091 - +0.56%

New Hanover Wilmington --- 173,554 - +5,003 - +2.88%

Onslow ------- Jacksonville -- 154,297 - +2,744 - +1.78%

Davidson ----- Lexington ---- 153,775 - +1,581 - +1.03%

Union --------- Monroe ------- 153,625 - +7,672 - +4.99%

Catawba ------ Newton ------- 149,466 - +2,061 - +1.38%

Cabarrus ----- Concord ------ 146,135 - +2,991 - +2.05%

Pitt ------------ Greenville ---- 140,587 - +2,002 - +1.42%

Overall NC grew in population by 120,031 @ +1.41%

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So wake gained 3k, it would still take a long time to catch up with the population of Meck at that rate. I think both cities can sustain this growth for some time to come.

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I'm most surprised the Cabarrus county only grew by ~3k people. I guess it had some losses around kannapolis, but i would have expected to seem more growth than that.

I'm not much of a statistician, but is there any way to get density numbers (other than just the obvious pop/total area for county. In other words, it would be a great thing, if a larger percentage of Charlotte's growth was into higher density parts of the county (like neartown neighborhoods)?

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Maybe a good gauge would be the pre 1960 or pre 1970 annexation areas (?). How about the area inside rt 4 in charlotte. In Raleigh, i guess inside 440.

What if you took the most populous area of wake that would be equal to the area of meck? would that help to show whether the mecklenburg would be growing in a more dense pattern?

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I am just curious about the different kinds of jobs in Wake and Meck counties. I realize Charlotte is a banking town and Raleigh is a tech mecca. Are both counties growing in these areas mostly or perhaps others as well.

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Population density comparisons are difficult as you have to have a definition on what area you are trying to compare. The Census can provide density figures for census tracts, blocks, zipcodes, and counties. (metro areas can be calculated from the county info). City limits comparisons are meaningless since no areas have the same rules for what defines the political boundry of a city. And cities, by annexation, can immediately change their boundries and populations the ability of which is determined by inconsistant laws.

This is all obvious stuff to us here for the most part. So how do we determine what is happening in Wake vs Mecklenburg? I'm not sure, but here are a set of maps from the 2003 estimate that show where people are living and where they are moving into each area.

People/Sq Mile

Mecklenburg

CLT_PopS.jpgCLT_Pop.jpg

Wake

RAL_popS.jpgRAL_pop.jpg

Population Change 2000-2003

Mecklenburg

CLT_chg_percentS.jpgCLT_chg_percent.jpg

Wake

RAL_chg_percentS.jpgRAL_chg_percent.jpg

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the color legend on the density maps has me very confused. Charlotte's most dense category is 2250-2250, and raleigh's is 2341-2498.

It does appear to be based on political boundry, though. Is the weird range show up because the city of charlotte is a single value "2250", but the cities of raleigh = 2498, and the city of cary = 2341 or something like that?

Are there similar maps available that are more precise? such as showing color per zipcode or census tract?

I'm not really concerned as much about comparisons (in a "vs" kind of way), but rather trying to see if infill growth patterns are taking hold.

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I am just curious about the different kinds of jobs in Wake and Meck counties. I realize Charlotte is a banking town and Raleigh is a tech mecca. Are both counties growing in these areas mostly or perhaps others as well.

I can't speak for Raleigh other than being into the biotech industry, but other than banking, the Charlotte area is also home to many manufacturing facilities and design companies.

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Why not use 2003 population estimates for census block groups?  Just a suggestion...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That information is not available. Only 2000 info is available and because of the growth in Mecklenburg & Wake, no longer make sence for present day comparisons.

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i guess it is becoming clear why this is a profession. It is not so simple to gather, break down, and interpret the numbers.

thanks for the info and lessons.

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the color legend on the density maps has me very confused.  Charlotte's most dense category is 2250-2250, and raleigh's is 2341-2498. 

It does appear to be based on political boundry, though.  Is the weird range show up because the city of charlotte is a single value "2250", but the cities of raleigh = 2498, and the city of cary = 2341 or something like that?

Are there similar maps available that are more precise? such as showing color per zipcode or census tract?

I'm not really concerned as much about comparisons (in a "vs" kind of way), but rather trying to see if infill growth patterns are taking hold.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I can't speak for what is going on in Wake, but in Charlotte's case the focus of infill development is limited to very very few neighborhoods (relative to the entire county) and involve a minority of people. Remember the DT population is still less than 10K people. We assume that because some highrise condos are being built within the loop and in Southend, that Charlotte is doing a better job than Wake at managing growth. I'm not so sure we can jump to that conclusion. Wake for example has many many more miles of biking trails and other amenities that are really lacking in Meck.

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That information is not available.  Only 2000 info is available and because of the growth in Mecklenburg & Wake, no longer make sence for present day comparisons.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

My apologies, I didn't realize the population estimate component of the data I use isn't a Census source, but developed by a private group( ESRI Business Information Solutions - ironic, they develop the software AND the data). I suppose you or most non-GIS users wouldn't have access to sub-county level population estimate data. Another option for you would be to consult the regional planning agency, quite often they are involved with population forecast at least at the tract level.

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