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People leave Charlotte for suburbs...


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This obviously isn't new to anyone familiar with Charlotte, but it's nice that it's being realized by the public.

"Charlotte sees flight to suburbs

Sprawl brings trouble with roads, clean air


Staff Writers

The suburban exodus out of Charlotte picked up steam in the late 1990s, continuing a trend that saw the metropolitan area sprawl deeper into neighboring counties.

Migration from Mecklenburg County to its largest neighbors increased 62 percent from the 1985-90 period to 1995-2000, according to census data released this week. In all, 34,000 people left Mecklenburg to resettle in Union, Cabarrus, York (S.C.), Gaston and Iredell counties. That's up from 21,000 who left between 1985 and 1990, the most recent comparable period.

In all, more than 130,000 people moved out of Mecklenburg County between 1995 and 2000. But that was more than offset by the incoming tide of about 167,000 newcomers from other parts of the Carolinas and the rest of the country.

Outside the Carolinas, Atlanta and Los Angeles were the top two sources of newcomers to Charlotte-Mecklenburg, each sending around 2,200 here during the period. All together, the county netted 37,000 new residents from migration.

The people who left Mecklenburg for surrounding counties did so for a number of reasons: cheaper houses, more land, lower taxes and the appearance of more stable schools.

Still, most of the departing residents still work in Mecklenburg where jobs are more plentiful and the pay is typically better. Almost a third of the county's jobs are held by noncounty residents, the census says. New stretches of Interstate 485 that opened late in the past decade, as did a wider I-77 in South Carolina and U.S. 321 to Hickory, made it easier for more people to live farther from where they work and shop.

Yet the costs of suburbanization continue to grow -- more congestion, less open space, dirtier air, along with increasing taxes in outlying counties to pay for more roads and schools.

Dennis Rash of UNC Charlotte's transportation studies department said the growth shows a greater need for regional cooperation.

"If they're not leaving the region, then it says to me as a county I must give much more attention to government on a regional basis," Rash said. "If they're coming to Mecklenburg to work and choosing to live somewhere else, how are we collaborating with those counties?"

Just last month, planners from across the region gathered in Cornelius to discuss a plan to create a regional planning alliance for the Charlotte area. The alliance would promote integrated planning for issues including land use, transportation and air quality.

About 135 people who attended a town hall meeting in March to discuss the challenges of growth called for such a regional planning approach.

Growth is nothing new to the Carolinas, and in particular, the Charlotte region. The state has more than 8 million residents, and it had the country's fourth-highest rate of net immigration between 1995-2000, pulling in 337,883 more people than it lost to other states. South Carolina ranked seventh.

Additionally, Union and York, S.C., are the fastest-growing counties in their respective states, based on a recent census release.

People are moving to the Charlotte region primarily for one reason.

"They're coming here for jobs," said Tony Crumbley, the Charlotte Chamber's vice president of research. Between 1995 and 2000, he said, Mecklenburg added more than 106,000 jobs."

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Yeah but how many moved in to Charlotte? or Mecklenburg I mean I just moved here back in 2001 don't me, my mother and my sister accout for growth :P

I know this doesn't answer your question completely, but it'll give you a little perspective on where people went and how many.

1995-2000 Data

Top five Carolinas counties that sent newcomers to Mecklenburg :

Guilford (Greensboro), 3,410

Wake (Raleigh), 3,246

Gaston, 2,968

Cabarrus, 2,839

Union, 2,763

Top five counties outside Carolinas from which people migrated to Mecklenburg:

Fulton, Ga. (Atlanta) 2,246

Los Angeles 2,173

Erie, N.Y. 2,093

Fairfax, Va. 1,810

Miami-Dade, Fla. 1,776

Top five counties Mecklenburg residents are moving to outside the Carolinas:

*Fulton, Ga. 1,787

*Cobb, Ga. 1,190

*DeKalb, Ga. 917

*Gwinnett, Ga. 822

Duval Co., Fla. 644

*part of metro Atlanta

SOURCE: Census 2000

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This is to be expected. People will always go where the cost of living is cheaper, bottom line. That's why you see people from distant cities moving into the CITY of Charlotte, because to them, Charlotte (city proper) IS still incredibly affordable, and offers an abundance of jobs. Now, people that have lived here for a while know that there are jobs and lower taxes in the surrounding counties, so the 'locals' are naturally going to leave the city for the 'burbs...but Charlotte is lucky that its central city offers a high enough quality of life, jobs, and affordable living to draw in folks from distant cities. That is the major difference between a city like charlotte and a city like, say, cleveland. Cleveland has no people moving into its core, while the people already in the core are fleeing to the 'burbs (or maybe even to...Charlotte :D ).

I like that the migration numbers are based on counties. That way nobody can show up and say "yeah, but that growth is all from annexing".

By the way, #3, Erie County, NY...those are my Buffalo peeps. We're all flocking down here. and since I moved here in 2001, I don't even count for that 2093. The migration isn't about to stop anytime soon...

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Cleveland has no people moving into its core, while the people already in the core are fleeing to the 'burbs (or maybe even to...Charlotte  :D ).

I like that the migration numbers are based on counties.  That way nobody can show up and say "yeah, but that growth is all from annexing".

I understand that Mecklenburg County is growing.

But is the city of Charlotte itself gaining population--minus annexation?

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"Have a look at this thread. Uptownliving has started going out with his camera to show other parts of Charlotte. You might note that many of these places are brand new and would not be happening if the demand was not there."

Yes, those were nice pictures.

I suppose the only way to calculate population gain without annexation would be to do a census tract count of the pre and post annexation city, presuming the census tracts haven't changed. Why don't you do that for us? It's a weekend and you no doubt have the next 12 or so hours free? Once you perfect your system, I'll be happy to request other cities, as well. :)

BTW--does Charlotte have much in the way of older 1920's, neighborhoods? You know, the almost stereotypically southern, tree-lined, avenues with the old brick-craftsmen bungalows? Perhaps the best description with which you might be familiar would be the Highlands area of Atlanta.

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"This is also an interesting Map. Among other things it shows the land use for the county."

Amazing--if I'm reading the map right--that there is that much "vacant" land in the city itself.

I wonder at what point Mecklenburg will "top out" in terms of population? As most urban counties become more and more urbanized, people begin to leave for the suburbs, regardless of the economic health of the area. An example would be Nashville-Davidson and, until recently, Fulton Co. And Fulton only started gaining when the suburbs became pure hell.

Even then, most migrants to the Atlanta area still overwhelmingly opt for the suburbs.

The reality of course is that most Americans prefer their big lots and big houses, urbanist movements notwithstanding.

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"Yes there are a number of them ringing the downtown area."

That's good to hear.

From all the pictures of Charlotte I've seen, it would be easy to come to the conclusion that the city was nothing more than a skyline surrounded by new urbanist developments. I always wondered what else was there. Growing up in Memphis, there were miles and miles of those old 20's houses and apartment buildings, so I was preconditioned to view that sort of thing as the "real" city.

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Hehe, I really need to get out and get a Digital camera.

Yes, you do.

I myself will be going to a family reunion in Memphis next month (the blessing of online teaching-I only have to teach in class one day a week) and hope to do a Memphis photo shoot.

I have "upgraded" my $49 digital camera to a $100 brand. Lol!

We shall see if it was worth it.

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Oh, BTW, that last map is confusing as I don't understand why those areas are specified vacant when in fact they are developed.

That map only shows land usage for tranit corridors (77, 85, 485, and Independence, mostly). Obviously the giant white patches of land are developed (i mean, the one is freakin' south charlotte, for crying out loud...obviously very developed). If you look within the colorful transit corridors themselves, you'll see very tiny plots of white (undeveloped land)...that is the land that is being referred to by the color chart.

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