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Population Growth


GRDadof3

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Found this article on the 2020 census interesting: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-08-30/why-are-some-booming-u-s-cities-losing-population?sref=2o0rZsF1 (Warning, Bloomberg allows a couple free articles before the paywall goes up)

TLDR, whereas it used to be commonly thought that a city's economy & population rise and fall together, this census is showing that the link is starting to fray. 

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Interestingly, the new Census data appear to show a third category of cities developing — metro areas that are booming economically without adding new residents. I reviewed data on population growth and per capita GDP growth for the 106 metro areas that had more than 500,000 people in 2010. By 2019, population growth for those 106 metros averaged 8.4%, while per capita GDP growth averaged 32.3%.

Metro areas such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Boston and Denver all registered higher-than-average economic output. Some, including Seattle and Salt Lake City, also saw their populations grow strongly. New York, Los Angeles and several others saw no dramatic shifts in population.

Most surprisingly, a handful of Rust Belt metros — Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, among others — outpaced the average per capita GDP gains yet actually lost population...

For years, as they struggled to save all the factory jobs they could, these cities often overlooked their other assets. It’s only in the past couple decades that they have effectively emulated the likes of New York and Los Angeles, investing in knowledge sectors such as tech, finance, and “eds and meds” to match today’s economic landscape. That’s led to productivity gains even without adding more people.

I wonder if GR would fall in that last category.  GR isn't losing people, but its low rate of population growth would seem to bely its economy.  The metro area as a whole, much larger than city of GR, is definitely growing but seems to barely keep pace with its peers, and still losing ground to some Sun Belt cities.  Speaking of which:

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Conversely, many of the most popular cities around the country appear to be growing without a commensurate increase in economic productivity. Several Sun Belt stars — Orlando, Lakeland, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Deltona/Daytona Beach, Jacksonville, Cape Coral and North Port/Sarasota in Florida; Dallas and San Antonio in Texas; Las Vegas and Phoenix — saw average per capita GDP gains lower than the overall average for the 106 largest metros.

 

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Interesting stuff. A couple thoughts:

  • I wonder if some of the disconnect between economic gains and population gains is coming from retirees? If an area is gaining a lot of retirees, they're going to boost the population without boosting the economy very much. That almost certainly explains Florida and Arizona, though not Texas or Vegas.
  • Metro Detroit didn't lose population. It didn't gain a ton, but it grew. The City, of course, lost population, but there were widespread gains in the suburbs, including older inner-ring burbs like Southfield, Warren, and Dearborn. 
  • GR is a weird amalgam of trends, because we've got a little Austin, a little Pittsburgh, and a little Traverse City all going on a the same time. 
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On 9/8/2021 at 10:37 AM, RegalTDP said:

Found this article on the 2020 census interesting: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-08-30/why-are-some-booming-u-s-cities-losing-population?sref=2o0rZsF1 (Warning, Bloomberg allows a couple free articles before the paywall goes up)

TLDR, whereas it used to be commonly thought that a city's economy & population rise and fall together, this census is showing that the link is starting to fray. 

I wonder if GR would fall in that last category.  GR isn't losing people, but its low rate of population growth would seem to bely its economy.  The metro area as a whole, much larger than city of GR, is definitely growing but seems to barely keep pace with its peers, and still losing ground to some Sun Belt cities.  Speaking of which:

 

Anyone know where to find the GDP per capita numbers that the guy talks about in the article? I'd be interested in seeing that. 

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  • 2 months later...
On 11/17/2021 at 6:47 AM, walker said:

Interesting Mlive article about the increasing Asian population in Kentwood.

Kentwood ". . . saw its Asian population climb to 6,119 in 2020, up 90% from a decade ago, new census data show. Eleven percent of Kentwood’s population is now Asian, the largest proportion in Kent County. . . . Since 2006, Samaritas resettled 1,257 Burmese and Bhutanese refugees in West Michigan, an estimated 85% of whom were placed in Kentwood, officials say. The city’s once ample supply of rental housing, access to public transportation and bilingual services for school children made the city a natural fit for the group."

Mlive: the-world-has-come-to-kentwood

Very interesting the high Asian growth just about everywhere, although seemingly a lot less than some metro Detroit suburbs like Novi and Troy. Also interesting the low overall percentages in GR and especially Wyoming and the large growth rate of whites and decrease of blacks in GR proper....I guess thats the gentrification you always hear about but seemingly opposite of some other peer cities. 

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  • 2 months later...
On 1/26/2022 at 9:34 AM, cstonesparty said:

For 1st time in Michigan history, more people died than were born in 2020

I'll be worried when this happens outside of a global pandemic. Too many confounding variables to make a judgment call on concern/no concern.

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17 hours ago, ZAP! said:

I'll be worried when this happens outside of a global pandemic. Too many confounding variables to make a judgment call on concern/no concern.

I don’t disagree at all on that point.  Just found it interesting and thought others on this topic would as well…

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On 1/26/2022 at 9:34 AM, cstonesparty said:

Thought of this thread when this article appeared today from Detroit Free Press:

For 1st time in Michigan history, more people died than were born in 2020

https://www.freep.com/story/news/health/2022/01/26/deaths-outpaced-births-michigan-1st-time-2020/6584958001/

This is happening in many European countries. It's an interesting conundrum if it doesn't reverse itself post pandemic. 

Florida is the same way but it's offset by migration. 

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1 hour ago, GRDadof3 said:

This is happening in many European countries. It's an interesting conundrum if it doesn't reverse itself post pandemic. 

Florida is the same way but it's offset by migration. 

I would assume it will reverse post-pandemic. Though we may see a return of it in 10ish years when Baby Boomers hit their 70s and 80s and and MIllenials hit their 40s and 50s. 

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1 hour ago, Khorasaurus1 said:

I would assume it will reverse post-pandemic. Though we may see a return of it in 10ish years when Baby Boomers hit their 70s and 80s and and MIllenials hit their 40s and 50s. 

Yeah it'll be interesting to see the 2021 estimates.  When I looked at the data even without the Covid deaths, the gap would still be pretty narrow the other way.  I'd bet the gap between the two numbers has been closing for a number of years as is.   I am concerned that Michigan population trends in general may have been disproportionately affected by Covid and the responses to it.  Michigan's population growth trends were already on thin margins without a massive complication like that being added into the mix.   

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  • 2 weeks later...

Stick with me on this one boys and girls.

According to the latest census data, there were 2609 single family residential permits granted in 2021 for the Grand Rapids MSA. That puts us at 106th in ranking in SF building permits. The number has hovered in the mid 2000's per year for at least the last five years that I looked at.

We're the 52nd largest MSA though.

The 52nd ranked MSA for building permits was Des Moines, Iowa at 6931 permits in 2021. That's almost 3x our level of single family housing construction. And our population growth rates were tracking pretty similarly at just over 1% annually for the first half of the 2010's. But then in the last five years, ours has dropped to below 1% and even .44% in 2020. 

But Des Moines MSA is also only 770,000 population to our 1.08 Million. 

So GR grew by just under 90,000 people since 2010. Des Moines grew by around 100,000 in that same period.  Yet they are building 3x the number of homes that we are. Per YEAR. 

No wonder we have a housing shortage...

Here are the deets... 

Don't let your jaw hit the counter too hard when you see the #1 MSA Dallas and how many permits were granted.

 

2021 Year End Permits by MSA.xls

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Replying to myself, here's the historical (for GR MSA, not city of GR).

2004 - 4523

2005 - 3868

2006 - 2901

2007 - 1849
2008 - 1105
2009 - 810
2010 - 872
2011 - 910
2012 - 1305
2013 - 1438
2014 - 2815
2015 - 2658
2016 - 3655
2017 - 3491
2018 - 2595
2019 - 2874
2020 - 2317
2021 - 2690
 
with graph
1829881461_GRMSApermitshistorical.jpg.650ffa93f15d4cec16cce52b1ed4ea41.jpg
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18 hours ago, whitemice said:

I was just looking at building permits yesterday. :)  Graphed the units-by-type permit counts per year for GR (from SOCDS)

 

Screenshot from 2022-02-15 15-19-36.png

Again, no wonder we're having a housing shortage/crisis. 

What about turning more commercial parcels into high density residential? Especially ones that are not at their "highest and best" use? 

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That is insane. @GRDadof3, since this is an area of expertise for you, what do you think the decrease in units is (especially after 2017)? Availability of land? Stupid zoning laws that make it hard to build dense developments? Something else? 

Is this a missing middle issue? Anecdotally, my brother-in-law is in construction and works on very large houses. He's so busy, he wishes he'd lose out on a house or two. So is the market non-existent for sub $300k houses (which sounds absurd in itself when I'm typing this. Doesn't seem like long ago that $250-300k was approaching "fancy").

Another key concern that doesn't show up here is that with COVID, the elderly are staying in their houses longer (not moving to retirement homes/assisted living) which doesn't help the first time buyer market.

Joe

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12 minutes ago, joeDowntown said:

That is insane. @GRDadof3, since this is an area of expertise for you, what do you think the decrease in units is (especially after 2017)? Availability of land? Stupid zoning laws that make it hard to build dense developments? Something else? 

Is this a missing middle issue? Anecdotally, my brother-in-law is in construction and works on very large houses. He's so busy, he wishes he'd lose out on a house or two. So is the market non-existent for sub $300k houses (which sounds absurd in itself when I'm typing this. Doesn't seem like long ago that $250-300k was approaching "fancy").

Joe

Yes, my clients can't build a home for even under $350K any more. That gets you a 1450 sf ranch home with unfinished basement on a "suburban neighborhood lot." 

I think it's the lack of availability of land and lack of infrastructure (water/sewer). Interestingly, municipalities will extend water, sewer, and even help pay to put in new streets for commercial developments (think of all the new office and industrial parks out in Gaines Township, Jamestown Twp, Alpine Twp, etc.. but not for residential developments. The developer has to foot the bill in most cases. I think that's primarily because the townships don't get that much revenue from residential developments? (just property taxes, which mostly go to the counties). Most townships don't have income taxes so the new residents of the neighborhoods don't pay income tax to the municipality. 

There should be a fund set up at the State level to help municipalities with this expense of extending infrastructure. Put it in the massive infrastructure bill that's coming. 

I also think it's because we don't have any national builders and developers here. Pulte left because they were never able to attain their 500 units/year goal. They tried for 4 or 5 years but could never get that high.  

I also know that many tradespeople left the area for southern states in the 2008/2009 crash. The construction labor shortage here is severe. That's why ABC built that construction institute by 131. 

I know we're mostly anti-sprawl here at UP-GR but this has serious ramifications for people who even want to own a home in the city, with the severe lack of inventory metro-wide. 

*Be careful what you wish for*

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1 hour ago, GRDadof3 said:

I think it's the lack of availability of land and lack of infrastructure (water/sewer). Interestingly, municipalities will extend water, sewer, and even help pay to put in new streets for commercial developments (think of all the new office and industrial parks out in Gaines Township, Jamestown Twp, Alpine Twp, etc.. but not for residential developments. The developer has to foot the bill in most cases. I think that's primarily because the townships don't get that much revenue from residential developments? (just property taxes, which mostly go to the counties). Most townships don't have income taxes so the new residents of the neighborhoods don't pay income tax to the municipality. 

Single family homes don't pay for themselves in property tax revenue anywhere - especially not suburbs. And especially with Homestead Exemptions.

But that shouldn't be a reason to not build them. Part of the "problem" is the worthy goals of protecting the fruit ridge in the northern suburbs, and the river valleys and woodlands in the eastern suburbs. Oh. and Ottawa County's water table issues.  Gaines and Byron are going to end up shouldering a heavy load of the needed housing growth for that reason. 

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10 minutes ago, Khorasaurus1 said:

Single family homes don't pay for themselves in property tax revenue anywhere - especially not suburbs. And especially with Homestead Exemptions.

But that shouldn't be a reason to not build them. Part of the "problem" is the worthy goals of protecting the fruit ridge in the northern suburbs, and the river valleys and woodlands in the eastern suburbs. Oh. and Ottawa County's water table issues.  Gaines and Byron are going to end up shouldering a heavy load of the needed housing growth for that reason. 

I think the Eastern suburbs are a non-starter anyway due to the rolling hills, wetlands, creeks, etc.. Same with Plainfield Twp and Rockford area. The costs to develop those are extraordinary and you end up just building homes for the wealthy because your land costs and infrastructure costs are so high. 

You're right though. Any of the "flat plains" are going to see growth. And really, the only places to go. Caledonia, Gaines, Byron (which is filling up already where existing water and sewer are run), Jamestown.

Georgetown Twp is amazingly almost filled in, except for the areas around Bauer and Fillmore past 36th. 

That's one thing that Southern metro areas have: lots of uninterrupted land. It's not unusual to find thousands and thousands of acres all owned by one family. You can buy it and plunk down thousands of homes in a master planned community with 6 or 7 national builders in there. Where they get the water I don't really know... 

Here, lower Michigan was heavily divided up by farmers very early on. It's unusual to find over 200 acres near Grand Rapids now. 

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19 minutes ago, Khorasaurus1 said:

Single family homes don't pay for themselves in property tax revenue anywhere - especially not suburbs. And especially with Homestead Exemptions.

But that shouldn't be a reason to not build them. Part of the "problem" is the worthy goals of protecting the fruit ridge in the northern suburbs, and the river valleys and woodlands in the eastern suburbs. Oh. and Ottawa County's water table issues.  Gaines and Byron are going to end up shouldering a heavy load of the needed housing growth for that reason. 

Chuck Marohn and Strong Towns make a pretty eloquent case for this. Infrastructure is expensive, and you need the return on investment in the form of tax base to make development sustainable. Not all forms of development are sustainable from a tax perspective, and I think many local governments are catching on to that. 

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Another idea I've thought about is having a regional group/body take a look at all of the highly underutilized commercial land in the metro area, and incentivize high and medium-density residential. Thinking of all of the smaller commercial corridors in Kentwood and Wyoming (36th, 52nd, etc) and South Division. What about all of the talk of the southern end of the Silver Line in Wyoming? All of those old strip malls and parking lots. 

9 minutes ago, demhem said:

Chuck Marohn and Strong Towns make a pretty eloquent case for this. Infrastructure is expensive, and you need the return on investment in the form of tax base to make development sustainable. Not all forms of development are sustainable from a tax perspective, and I think many local governments are catching on to that. 

I feel like the writers at Strong Towns, all they do is complain. Complaining doesn't really inspire others into action. Just inaction, defeatism and resentment. And they inadvertently create white middle class urban enclaves where normal people can't really afford to live. IMO.   #endrant 

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I've said for years that all the good building sites are gone.  Homes are getting built in all the poor locations / terrain / wetland areas.  And the new storm runoff regs from EGLE are going to make it almost impossible to develop heavy clay soils which Kent County has an abundance.  As for the small farms,  50 years ago, a person could make a decent income farming 200 acres. Those days are long gone. 

Last Thursday I drove 28th St from East Paris to US 131.  it's been a while and I was amazed at all the vacant store fronts.  Some areas almost reminded me of a desert. No signs of human activity.

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26 minutes ago, Raildude's dad said:

I've said for years that all the good building sites are gone.  Homes are getting built in all the poor locations / terrain / wetland areas.  And the new storm runoff regs from EGLE are going to make it almost impossible to develop heavy clay soils which Kent County has an abundance.  As for the small farms,  50 years ago, a person could make a decent income farming 200 acres. Those days are long gone. 

Last Thursday I drove 28th St from East Paris to US 131.  it's been a while and I was amazed at all the vacant store fronts.  Some areas almost reminded me of a desert. No signs of human activity.

Exactly. Or think about Kalamazoo or Eastern through Kentwood that have a lot of "dead" retail commercial areas. Do more of the Studio 28 type stuff. 

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4 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

Exactly. Or think about Kalamazoo or Eastern through Kentwood that have a lot of "dead" retail commercial areas. Do more of the Studio 28 type stuff. 

Grandville, Walker, and (obviously) Wyoming have opened up their zoning to allow for more of this, at least in certain locations. 

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4 hours ago, Khorasaurus1 said:

Grandville, Walker, and (obviously) Wyoming have opened up their zoning to allow for more of this, at least in certain locations. 

It's definitely one of the solutions. It used to be you wouldn't think someone would want to live in an apartment building or condo on a busy street like these, with not a lot of "walkability." But now, demand vs supply has changed everything.

And the infrastructure is already there (though it might need to be upgraded and any lead pipes removed, if applicable). 

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