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Population Growth


GRDadof3

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24 minutes ago, Khorasaurus1 said:

There are a number of factors that go into the unusual population trends seen in those estimates.

  • There were more deaths than usual in 2020 and 21, not just from Covid, but also from Covid-adjacent things like overfilled hospitals, suicide, etc. Sad stuff, but it shows up in demographics like this.
  • There was almost no immigration in 2020 and 21. Borders were closed. 
  • The decennial census asks people where they are living as of April 1. I assume the American Community Survey form does the same? So it's going to capture people living at cottages and lake houses, even if they don't plan to move their permanently. 
  • I'm not sure covid restrictions were as big a factor in people moving to Florida as weather. If you don't have to commute, but you also can't go to bars/concerts/sporting events, you may as well be somewhere warm.

That said, there definitely is a trend of people with resources leaving more densely populated places to places where there is space and natural beauty. When you can work from anywhere, why not live in Northern Michigan rather than suburban Chicago?

I think GR and West Michigan are poised to benefit from this trend, though. We offer urban amenities without the hassles of big cities - you can sell a place in Chicago and net enough to buy a condo in downtown GR and a place on a lake, and get from one to the other in 20 minutes.  Or buy a bigger, newer home in Forest Hills, send your kids to good public schools, and put the difference in cost of living into the college fund.  Or be 5 minutes from Lake Michigan, 10 minutes from Holland, 30 minutes from Grand Rapids, and 2.5 hours from the Loop. 

We just offer a lot to people who are used to overpaying and overcommuting, and now realize they don't have to do those things anymore. 

I wonder if other parts of Michigan will benefit similarly. Kalamazoo is well positioned for sure. I wonder if this could be the saving grace for the Bay Region communities. 

I don't know what to think of Detroit. Can it position itself as "big city with more space and less cost"? Or is it going to be a "worst of all worlds" situation - especially if Downtown Detroit doesn't bounce back from losing a huge chunk of its office employment, hotel occupancy, and gaming/convention/sports business for 18+ months. 

I'm actually hoping this is something that DOES NOT happen here in great numbers. Los Angeles County alone is 10 million people (the population of all of Michigan) and when word spreads about a low cost housing area as an alternative to Southern California, those masses of people can ruin a housing market. Same with New Yorkers inundating Florida this past year.

This article about Spokane Washington is a prime example (hopefully you can read it and not be hit by the paywall):

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/20/business/economy/spokane-housing-expensive-cities.html

If so, try going to the article via google:

https://www.google.com/search?q=spokane+washington+housing+crisis&rlz=1C1ZKTG_enUS782US782&oq=&aqs=chrome.0.69i59i450l8.168621443j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

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11 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

This article about Spokane Washington is a prime example (hopefully you can read it and not be hit by the paywall):

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/20/business/economy/spokane-housing-expensive-cities.html

 

That's quite the article, because you could literally just change the names and places to Grand Rapids people and places and it would ring completely true.  Though Spokane does seem to be a year or two ahead of us in that trend. 

I'm not honestly sure what the solution is. I guess the answer is "build more housing", but that takes time, even without NIMBY opposition or more legitimate concerns like environmental/farmland preservation and gentrification. 

One potential angle of attack is converting underused office space to housing. But that takes time, too. 

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2 hours ago, Khorasaurus1 said:

There are a number of factors that go into the unusual population trends seen in those estimates.

  • There was almost no immigration in 2020 and 21. Borders were closed.  

minor quibble, but there was immigration in 21.  In fact the U.S. welcomed more than 80,000 Afghan refugees in fall/winter.

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1 hour ago, cstonesparty said:

minor quibble, but there was immigration in 21.  In fact the U.S. welcomed more than 80,000 Afghan refugees in fall/winter.

I almost put 'the first half of 2021", which, you're right, would have been more accurate.

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A few random things that jump out to me; 

Not surprised that NW and West MI saw the most growth but a little surprised at Lake CO. Historically thats been a very poor area with little opportunity. Do these include prison numbers? Ifso that tends to skew things and not sure if they are still messing around with privatized prisons there or not but that was a thing a while back. 

Another BIG reason why the shift to the big red states like FL, TX and now TN...yes less restrictions and better weather help but also NO income tax...when you can work remotely, keep your higher wages, then not pay income tax in a place that has lower wages is the main reason why many are fleeing to those places IMO from examples I hear about. Plus places like Austin, Tampa and Nashville are now a lot cooler for young adults than their reputations of a generation before. 

A city that continues to jump out to me is Des Moines Iowa. It definitely seems like the closet pier to Grand Rapids on many levels and I have some connections there so I know it a little bit. What surprises me is the continued growth there and at a much higher rate, also the demographics in an area that historically was very homogenously white is rapidly changing with many immigrants and black, asian and hispanic, meanwhile GR is loosing black population to gentrification seemingly stagnant on hispanic and asian and growing white. Its rather far from other major metro areas but the draw there from places like Chicago seems higher than it is to much closer GR. On a development side, DSM tends to do things on a more "grand" level than GR, yes its the capitol and largest city in the state but seemingly GR should have more going for it, being closer to major metro areas, you would think more of influx from metro Detroit/Chicago, more scenery, more to do and lower cost of living and even better weather (unless you value colder temps over more snow). I know Ive said this before I just dont see the reasoning behind it and I could go into more details on the comparisons I see there. 

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55 minutes ago, GR8scott said:

A city that continues to jump out to me is Des Moines Iowa. It definitely seems like the closet pier to Grand Rapids on many levels and I have some connections there so I know it a little bit. What surprises me is the continued growth there and at a much higher rate, also the demographics in an area that historically was very homogenously white is rapidly changing with many immigrants and black, asian and hispanic, meanwhile GR is loosing black population to gentrification seemingly stagnant on hispanic and asian and growing white. Its rather far from other major metro areas but the draw there from places like Chicago seems higher than it is to much closer GR. On a development side, DSM tends to do things on a more "grand" level than GR, yes its the capitol and largest city in the state but seemingly GR should have more going for it, being closer to major metro areas, you would think more of influx from metro Detroit/Chicago, more scenery, more to do and lower cost of living and even better weather (unless you value colder temps over more snow). I know Ive said this before I just dont see the reasoning behind it and I could go into more details on the comparisons I see there. 

That is weird. Des Moines seems nice, but you'd think we'd win out on Lake Michigan alone. It could be a function of them being the "metropolis" of Iowa, maybe? And being located on I-80 so you drive through there on the way from Chicago to, say, Colorado?

The demographic note that you included, though - that's a city trend, not a metro trend, correct? It's largely from the black population being gentrified out of the Wealthy Street corridor and moving to Kentwood, right? And also new immigrant groups landing in Wyoming and Kentwood rather than GR proper (except the Camelot area). 

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1 hour ago, Khorasaurus1 said:

That is weird. Des Moines seems nice, but you'd think we'd win out on Lake Michigan alone. It could be a function of them being the "metropolis" of Iowa, maybe? And being located on I-80 so you drive through there on the way from Chicago to, say, Colorado?

The demographic note that you included, though - that's a city trend, not a metro trend, correct? It's largely from the black population being gentrified out of the Wealthy Street corridor and moving to Kentwood, right? And also new immigrant groups landing in Wyoming and Kentwood rather than GR proper (except the Camelot area). 

This article might have some clues about Des Moines. It's from 2019, and interestingly Grand Rapids metro lands on its rankings for "Change in Percent of Age 25-34 Population with Bachelor’s Degree or Higher"

https://siteselection.com/issues/2019/sep/upper-midwest-3-cities-bucking-the-tide-of-midwest-talent-and-population-loss.cfm

That is definitely something that jumps right out at you about Grand Rapids. If you spend time down in a place like Florida (like away from the coasts, in the cities of St Petersburg or Tampa) you definitely notice that Grand Rapids has a MUCH younger population. Like around here if you go to Meijer or Costco the predominant population group seems to be middle class 30 and 40 somethings and a lot of young kids. Whereas down there, the few 30 somethings you see all look poor or work at the stores where you're shopping.

Which it sounds like Des Moines (and Columbus and Madison WI) are also attracting/retaining younger populations. 

I will say if growth here has slowed a bit, that might not be a bad thing. Considering that we already have a housing crisis. 

On another note, looking at employment and labor force, most Northern cities have lost labor force since covid and do not seem to be regaining labor force. Whereas Southern metros have rebounded and gained labor force.

You can pop through a bunch of MSA data here:

https://www.bls.gov/eag/

Like even though GR is at a very low unemployment rate again of around 3.7% (it was as high as 21% during covid), our labor force is almost 25,000 fewer people than our pre-covid peak. 

https://www.bls.gov/regions/midwest/mi_grandrapids_msa.htm#eag

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52 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

Like even though GR is at a very low unemployment rate again of around 3.7% (it was as high as 21% during covid), our labor force is almost 25,000 fewer people than our pre-covid peak. 

https://www.bls.gov/regions/midwest/mi_grandrapids_msa.htm#eag

Stupid question: How do they calculate "labor force"? Is it employable people between the ages of X and X? Or is is a huge set of criteria that sets that number? A few things I'll be interested in learning as history writes itself:

1. How many people were nearing retirement and decided to retire early because of Covid / changes in the workplace

2. How many remote workers do we now have who work for companies outside our MSA? And how many workers do local employers have that have never set foot in West Michigan (or Michigan at all). :)

3. How many people quit their "real job" and started businesses.

4a. How many people decided to be part of the "Great Resignation"

4b. How many people who resigned have exhausted savings (they seem to be calling it the "Great Regret") and will soon be back in the workforce. 

For those of you that love crunching the numbers, this has got be a really interesting time. So many factors, unknowns, and new scenarios!

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21 minutes ago, joeDowntown said:

Stupid question: How do they calculate "labor force"? Is it employable people between the ages of X and X? Or is is a huge set of criteria that sets that number? A few things I'll be interested in learning as history writes itself:

1. How many people were nearing retirement and decided to retire early because of Covid / changes in the workplace

2. How many remote workers do we now have who work for companies outside our MSA? And how many workers do local employers have that have never set foot in West Michigan (or Michigan at all). :)

3. How many people quit their "real job" and started businesses.

4a. How many people decided to be part of the "Great Resignation"

4b. How many people who resigned have exhausted savings (they seem to be calling it the "Great Regret") and will soon be back in the workforce. 

For those of you that love crunching the numbers, this has got be a really interesting time. So many factors, unknowns, and new scenarios!

"The labor force includes all people age 16 and older who are classified as either employed and unemployed, as defined below. Conceptually, the labor force level is the number of people who are either working or actively looking for work." per the BLS.

The labor force participation rate represents the number of people in the labor force as a percentage of the civilian noninstitutional population. In other words, the participation rate is the percentage of the population that is either working or actively looking for work.

The labor force participation rate is calculated as: (Labor Force ÷ Civilian Noninstitutional Population) x 100.

 

So yes, if people quit work and then dropped out of the labor force and started their own company, they would no longer be considered part of the "Labor Force"

But again, my point isn't so much the change in labor force, it's the fact that so many northern cities' labor forces are down, but in many southern metro areas, the labor force (and employment) have rebounded and gained since the covid lows. 

Just look at the graph for GR:

image.thumb.png.2ebe89f4118ae46a84df32e6afa006ae.png

Now look at the tables for Austin Texas. Are we saying that the Great Resignation affected places like GR but not Austin?  I do think a lot of people retired here that probably would have waited a few more years. 

image.thumb.png.5854d319465b5daf50e378613eb32453.png

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Interesting. I think the answer is it’s too darn cold here for too darn long. Or something to that effect. And with remote work, why not try it? I have heard it’s nearly impossible to buy a house in Austin, but heck, it’s hard to buy a house here. 

wait, did I just talk myself into moving to Texas? LOL

it’ll be interesting to see in 5-10 years if the migration is permanent, or if normalizes a bit. 

Joe

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11 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

Interesting. I think the answer is it’s too darn cold here for too darn long. Or something to that effect. And with remote work, why not try it? I have heard it’s nearly impossible to buy a house in Austin, but heck, it’s hard to buy a house here. 

wait, did I just talk myself into moving to Texas? LOL

it’ll be interesting to see in 5-10 years if the migration is permanent, or if normalizes a bit. 

Joe

I think it will level off a bit. And it's not like population here is shrinking, growth is just slowing to a trickle. Employment is full at 3.7% unemployment and it seems like every company in town is hiring by the truckloads, so it will go back up again. It's just strange how many people have dropped out of the labor force. I do think early retirements might be a big part of that. 

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12 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

Interesting. I think the answer is it’s too darn cold here for too darn long.

The longstanding trend of population moving south definitely reinforces this idea: TONS of people just don't have tolerance for northern cold when they have the mobility to relocate.  

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I think it will level off too.  People move for opportunity before weather.  Grand Rapids leadership does a great job of creating an attractive environment combined with opportunity, it will continue to grow.   The folks here where I live in Louisville could learn a lot from Grand Rapids.  Louisville's got a fantastic built environment.  It has a crazy unique culture between the bourbon, bar scene, and the horse racing.  It has plenty of trendy neighborhoods, combined with better weather. It also has a fairly liberal/educated population base.   Even with all that Grand Rapids STILL manages to out pace it with growth and has for decades.   As things keep returning to normal from the pandemic I expect remote working to be less common, and I believe GR will return to the more historical growth rates. 

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4 hours ago, cstonesparty said:

The longstanding trend of population moving south definitely reinforces this idea: TONS of people just don't have tolerance for northern cold when they have the mobility to relocate.  

The only thing that will reverse that trend is water shortages in some of the dryer southern areas. Which are pretty likely, but would need to be severe to drive migration. 

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21 minutes ago, Khorasaurus1 said:

The only thing that will reverse that trend is water shortages in some of the dryer southern areas. Which are pretty likely, but would need to be severe to drive migration. 

I've sometimes wondered if electricity were to dramatically increase in price, such that running A/C perpetually in hot south were impacted, would the pattern shift?

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1 hour ago, Khorasaurus1 said:

The only thing that will reverse that trend is water shortages in some of the dryer southern areas. Which are pretty likely, but would need to be severe to drive migration. 

#1 Climate Haven by 2050. Start buying up real estate now. :)

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On 3/30/2022 at 3:54 PM, joeDowntown said:

#1 Climate Haven by 2050. Start buying up real estate now. :)

This is a big part of me staying in West Michigan.  My wife is in AZ right now and telling me how warm and beautiful it is and 'can we move there now?'   Well sure, for now it's nice, and it's only spring.  But they have some real water issues, here is a current (long/independent) read that lays it all out.

  https://www.circleofblue.org/2022/wef/arizonas-future-water-shock/

TL:DR:  

Quote

In 1995, the law set in place a consumer protection measure to require developers building subdivisions in Active Management Areas (AMAs) with six or more homes to assure buyers that their houses had a 100-year supply of water. But the requirement did not apply for residential construction projects with less than six homes. Builders constructing individual homes, or clusters of five homes or less in an AMA, avoided the 100-year water requirement. Outside the AMAs, groundwater safeguards did not apply, creating what amounted to a home construction free-for-all.

Little more than 40 years after the statute was enacted and less than 30 years after the 100-year assured water supply rules were adopted, the subdivision and private well waivers have resulted in Rio Verde’s emergency. They also influenced a boom in home construction that has caused — and continues to cause — thousands of wells to fail inside and outside of AMAs. It is clearer by the day that, without significant strengthening, the state’s water management program is becoming increasingly irrelevant. 

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I’ve always heard Arizona is a beautiful place to visits in January, February and March, but before you move, you must experience June, July and August. 

Total side rant, but I’ve read the thing that is making Arizona (and other southwestern states) more and more unbearable is not the max temp (which can top 110-115). It’s the “low” temperatures in summer that are nearing mid 80s-90 degrees. And that is changing rapidly, higher temps than have been previously recorded. So basically in the summer, it never has a chance to cool down. 

I think about moving to warmer climates semi regularly these days, but personally, nothing beats a Michigan summer. 

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On 4/1/2022 at 10:19 PM, joeDowntown said:

I’ve always heard Arizona is a beautiful place to visits in January, February and March, but before you move, you must experience June, July and August. 

Total side rant, but I’ve read the thing that is making Arizona (and other southwestern states) more and more unbearable is not the max temp (which can top 110-115). It’s the “low” temperatures in summer that are nearing mid 80s-90 degrees. And that is changing rapidly, higher temps than have been previously recorded. So basically in the summer, it never has a chance to cool down. 

I think about moving to warmer climates semi regularly these days, but personally, nothing beats a Michigan summer. 

Snowbird. That's in our 5 - 10 year plan now. I'm downright sick of this weather but all of our family is in the Michigan region. 

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7 hours ago, GRLaker said:

While I’m unable to find anything in a google search, I’ve been told that Asheville and Charlotte are where the most meteorologists retire to. That’s a ringing endorsement.

Everyone I know who moved from here to Charlotte moved back again. Did not like it. Asheville is kind of cool though for retirement. A lot of mountain biking/hiking nearby, waterfalls, etc..

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On 4/1/2022 at 7:19 PM, joeDowntown said:

I’ve always heard Arizona is a beautiful place to visits in January, February and March, but before you move, you must experience June, July and August. 

Total side rant, but I’ve read the thing that is making Arizona (and other southwestern states) more and more unbearable is not the max temp (which can top 110-115). It’s the “low” temperatures in summer that are nearing mid 80s-90 degrees. And that is changing rapidly, higher temps than have been previously recorded. So basically in the summer, it never has a chance to cool down. 

I think about moving to warmer climates semi regularly these days, but personally, nothing beats a Michigan summer. 

My wife is from Mesa and visiting her family in June was a terrible experience weather-wise.  Her family is great, but the heat was oppressive.  Opening the door and stepping outside is like exposing yourself to sniper fire.  You dash to the car, slam the door and crank the AC full blast.  You relax while you drive to the mall.  Then, once you park, it's a mad dash to get inside and into that sweet, sweet AC.

I've really tried to like Phoenix.  I believe every city is unique and has something to offer but I've really struggled with this town.  There is no aesthetic beauty to the landscape whatsoever.  It's just brown, rocky and dusty.   It doesn't have the sweeping desert sands or dramatic vistas like you would imagine when you think of the Southwest.  The desert there is more like a vacant lot that goes on forever.  The downtown areas - even Scottsdale, which is supposed to be the swanky suburb - don't evoke much personality.  And it's not like you can casually walk around downtown anyway - you're always dashing to get inside.

Other parts of Arizona, like Flagstaff, Prescott and Sedona are much prettier.  Here endeth the rant.

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On 4/8/2022 at 12:42 PM, RegalTDP said:

My wife is from Mesa and visiting her family in June was a terrible experience weather-wise.  Her family is great, but the heat was oppressive.  Opening the door and stepping outside is like exposing yourself to sniper fire.  You dash to the car, slam the door and crank the AC full blast.  You relax while you drive to the mall.  Then, once you park, it's a mad dash to get inside and into that sweet, sweet AC.

I've really tried to like Phoenix.  I believe every city is unique and has something to offer but I've really struggled with this town.  There is no aesthetic beauty to the landscape whatsoever.  It's just brown, rocky and dusty.   It doesn't have the sweeping desert sands or dramatic vistas like you would imagine when you think of the Southwest.  The desert there is more like a vacant lot that goes on forever.  The downtown areas - even Scottsdale, which is supposed to be the swanky suburb - don't evoke much personality.  And it's not like you can casually walk around downtown anyway - you're always dashing to get inside.

Other parts of Arizona, like Flagstaff, Prescott and Sedona are much prettier.  Here endeth the rant.

We stayed in Flagstaff for almost a week and traveled down to Sedona and up to the Grand Canyon from our AirBNB house we rented. Beautiful area. And the hiking is epic. Oak Creek Canyon was probably one of my favorite hikes ever. Wear sandals so you can hike right up the creek the entire way if you ever go. It's sort of by Slide Rock State Park, which is also really cool and looks like a movie set (but it's not). The drive between Sedona and Flagstaff is breathtaking. 

It was in August (people thought we were crazy) but temps were in the 50's in the morning and very dry 80's/90's in the afternoon. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I grew up in Michigan then lived in Florida, California, and now Nevada and I'll say that nothing beats the climate of San Diego, it's probably the best weather year round. As far as the southwest climate, here in Las Vegas it's perfect in April, but the wind can make it chilly in January and February and the summers are relentless and unbearable. However, there is nice relief if you head up to the mountains, but if you decide to move out to the southwest you have to be okay with a dry climate. 

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19 hours ago, TheSutterKing said:

So I grew up in Michigan then lived in Florida, California, and now Nevada and I'll say that nothing beats the climate of San Diego, it's probably the best weather year round. As far as the southwest climate, here in Las Vegas it's perfect in April, but the wind can make it chilly in January and February and the summers are relentless and unbearable. However, there is nice relief if you head up to the mountains, but if you decide to move out to the southwest you have to be okay with a dry climate. 

I've heard that the weather is the same year-round, every day. And that the Pacific is freezing cold year-round as well (which is why Navy Seals train there). Doesn't sound like heaven to me (not that I like our weather in February - April). 

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