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Yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau began releasing population data from the 2020 Census, starting with state populations.  Some takeaways:

  • Arkansas' population is 3,013,756, an increase of 3.3% over 2010.
    • this is a net increase of about 87,000 people (from 2,926,229 in 2010)
    • this increase is below the national state growth average of 7.4%
    • our number of congressional seats will remain unchanged at four (with Electoral College votes remaining unchanged at six)
  • Total U.S. population is  331,449,281, an increase of 7.4% over 2010
    • this is a net increase of about 23,000,000 people (from 308,745,538 in 2010)
    • this is the second smallest decade-long growth in the history of the census, only slightly higher than the 7.3% growth from the 1930's in the aftermath of the Great Depression
    • this growth is roughly half the rate exhibited during the 1990s (13.2%)
    • the slowing growth is largely a result of a decline in the number of births, increased deaths, and lower immigration levels
  • The eight fastest growing states (in order):
    • Utah (18.4%)
    • Idaho (17.3%)
    • Texas (15.9%)
    • North Dakota (15.8%)
    • Nevada (15.0%)
    • Colorado (14.8%)
    • Washington (14.6%)
    • Florida (14.6%)
  • Three states recorded negative growth/population decline (in order of worst to least):
    • West Virginia (-3.2%)
    • Mississippi (-0.2%)
    • Illinois (-0.1%)

More granular census data at county and municipal levels will be released late summer/early fall.

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I think it's impressive that Pulaski had the most growth of any county in the metro.  It's third in the state behind the two NWA counties. It would have been really nice if it could have hit 400k thou

Arkansas fell behind Utah and Nevada, but passed Mississippi.   

States in the range of Arkansas' population:

State 2010 Population 2010 Rank 2020 Population 2020 Rank
Arkansas 2,915,918 32 3,011,524 33
Connecticut 3,574,097 29 3,605,944 29
Iowa 3,046,355 30 3,190,369 31
Kansas 2,853,118 33 2,937,880 35
Mississippi 2,967,297 31 2,961,279 34
Nevada 2,700,551 35 3,104,614 32
Oklahoma 3,751,351 28 3,959,353 28
Utah 2,763,885 34 3,271,616 30
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12 hours ago, Architect said:

Yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau began releasing population data from the 2020 Census, starting with state populations.  Some takeaways:

  • Arkansas' population is 3,013,756, an increase of 3.3% over 2010.
    • this is a net increase of about 87,000 people (from 2,926,229 in 2010)
    • this increase is below the national state growth average of 7.4%
    • our number of congressional seats will remain unchanged at four (with Electoral College votes remaining unchanged at six)
  • Total U.S. population is  331,449,281, an increase of 7.4% over 2010
    • this is a net increase of about 23,000,000 people (from 308,745,538 in 2010)
    • this is the second smallest decade-long growth in the history of the census, only slightly higher than the 7.3% growth from the 1930's in the aftermath of the Great Depression
    • this growth is roughly half the rate exhibited during the 1990s (13.2%)
    • the slowing growth is largely a result of a decline in the number of births, increased deaths, and lower immigration levels
  • The eight fastest growing states (in order):
    • Utah (18.4%)
    • Idaho (17.3%)
    • Texas (15.9%)
    • North Dakota (15.8%)
    • Nevada (15.0%)
    • Colorado (14.8%)
    • Washington (14.6%)
    • Florida (14.6%)
  • Three states recorded negative growth/population decline (in order of worst to least):
    • West Virginia (-3.2%)
    • Mississippi (-0.2%)
    • Illinois (-0.1%)

More granular census data at county and municipal levels will be released late summer/early fall.

Looks like you've got the number wrong from 2010, as it was 2,915,918, which results in a 97,000 increase.  From 2000 to 2010, we had an increase of 242k, a 9.1% increase, which was very close to the National 9.7% increase.  I wonder what factors went into our rate of growth dropping to less than half of the National rate over the past decade

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5 hours ago, MDC26 said:

Looks like you've got the number wrong from 2010, as it was 2,915,918, which results in a 97,000 increase.  From 2000 to 2010, we had an increase of 242k, a 9.1% increase, which was very close to the National 9.7% increase.  I wonder what factors went into our rate of growth dropping to less than half of the National rate over the past decade

I got my numbers straight from an Arkansas Business report on the census outcome...I guess I just repeated their error.  The link is as follows:  https://www.arkansasbusiness.com/article/135532/arkansas-population-grows-by-more-than-87000-over-decade

That being said, good point about the disproportionate slowdown in state growth compared to 2000-2010.  I have no idea why that would be...clearly the population loss of rural Arkansas was disproportionately higher than the population gains this decade as compared to the last.  On reflection, that isn't surprising given all of the data about accelerated rural population loss.

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  • 3 months later...

Census 2020 County/City Data was released today...below is a quick summary:

  • Little Rock-Conway-North Little Rock MSA:
    • Pulaski 399,125

      • barely missed 400K mark

    • Saline 123,416

    • Faulkner 123,498

    • Lonoke   74,015

    • Grant   17,958

    • Perry   10,019

    • TOTAL 748,031

      • approximately 7.0% growth from 699,757 in 2010

      • reflects slower growth experienced nationwide this past decade, as the metro grew at a 14% clip in both preceding decades

  • City Populations (in order):

    • Little Rock 202,591

      • finally crested the 200K mark

    • NLR   64,591

    • Conway   64,134

    • Benton   35,014

    • Sherwood   32,731

    • Jacksonville   29,477

    • Cabot   26,569

    • Bryant   20,663

    • Maumelle   19,251

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Finally seeing a 2 at the beginning of Little Rock’s population. I thought Conway would have passed NLR in this census but it is barely hanging on for second largest population in the metro.

Agreed. At some point recently, the census bureau had estimated that Conway actually passed NLR, which is why they officially changed the MSA name to “Little Rock-Conway-North Little Rock”…

Honestly, Conway’s modest/slow growth this past decade is a notable event. Surprising really. On the flip side, Little Rock proper adding nearly 10,000 people is huge.


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I think it's impressive that Pulaski had the most growth of any county in the metro.  It's third in the state behind the two NWA counties. It would have been really nice if it could have hit 400k though.  Pulaski has been in the 300s since before the 1980 census.  

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On 8/14/2021 at 2:09 AM, vbfl85 said:

I think it's impressive that Pulaski had the most growth of any county in the metro.  It's third in the state behind the two NWA counties. It would have been really nice if it could have hit 400k though.  Pulaski has been in the 300s since before the 1980 census.  

I think you're off by a couple hundred people (I think Saline grew 15,763 versus Pulaski at 15,549)...but still, point well-made.  Impressive indeed. 

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I think the Census Bureau  has some explaining to do on some of their counts. For example, the 2019 estimate for Conway was 66,127 and the count for 2020 was 64,134. Either the estimate was way off or  2020 was a bad count because I don't believe Conway lost 2,000 people in a one year period. The single housing unit permits for 2019 were 268 and for 2020 the numbers were 341. The multi-family units totals  for 2019 were 226 and for 2020 they were 460.

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1 hour ago, skirby said:

I think the Census Bureau  has some explaining to do on some of their counts. For example, the 2019 estimate for Conway was 66,127 and the count for 2020 was 64,134. Either the estimate was way off or  2020 was a bad count because I don't believe Conway lost 2,000 people in a one year period. The single housing unit permits for 2019 were 268 and for 2020 the numbers were 341. The multi-family units totals  for 2019 were 226 and for 2020 they were 460.

Well, they are estimates...presumably decennial census' are official (and more accurate).

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3 hours ago, Architect said:

Well, they are estimates...presumably decennial census' are official (and more accurate).

All I'm saying is they believed their estimates to be true up to the point of changing the name of the MSA last year to reflect it. I'm not sure the 2020 census was that accurate considering the conditions.

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I was wondering about the 2020 count as well for Conway. As has been stated the 2019 estimate was more than the 2020 count. Was there an over estimate for 2019 or an undercount in 2020? I haven’t heard anything from any Conway officials questioning the 2020 count.

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Well, the official census relies on people returning their census survey.  If it's not returned, the census takers go door to door on those those residences that didn't return it.  If they aren't there and aren't there for follow up stops, they don't get counted.  With COVID, I don't know if the usual amount of census takers were hired, and how thorough they were by tracking down those that didn't respond.   I don't know what metrics are used for the estimates.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

The DemGaz published an article today on data trends from the 2020 Census as observed by Metroplan...specifically concerns about slowing "migration" trends:

https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2021/aug/30/central-arkansas-slower-growth-in-last-decade/

A quote from the article:  "But Townsell's concern was not only about the declining growth rate in the region's population, but also about how the population grew.  From 2000 to 2010, the population growth was fueled more by net migration, in which more people moved into the region than left the region, than by natural growth -- births minus deaths. That decade saw the region gain 50,512 from migration and 38,727 from natural growth.  The script has been flipped in the past 10 years, according to the census numbers. From 2010 to 2020, the region saw population from net migration climb 18,890 and saw it rise 29,384 from natural growth."

I think the concern about the change in net-migration is a valid one, but I was disappointed the article did not really add perspective about the slowing nationwide population trends (of which this is in line), nor any comparisons with our regional peers, Jackson, Birmingham, Tulsa, Memphis, in which Little Rock's growth is quite favorable, and even exceeds all of those except Tulsa (and only just so).  Northwest Arkansas as a comparison is a complete outlier, and not representative of a more typical, mature market.

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2 hours ago, Architect said:

The DemGaz published an article today on data trends from the 2020 Census as observed by Metroplan...specifically concerns about slowing "migration" trends:

https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2021/aug/30/central-arkansas-slower-growth-in-last-decade/

A quote from the article:  "But Townsell's concern was not only about the declining growth rate in the region's population, but also about how the population grew.  From 2000 to 2010, the population growth was fueled more by net migration, in which more people moved into the region than left the region, than by natural growth -- births minus deaths. That decade saw the region gain 50,512 from migration and 38,727 from natural growth.  The script has been flipped in the past 10 years, according to the census numbers. From 2010 to 2020, the region saw population from net migration climb 18,890 and saw it rise 29,384 from natural growth."

I think the concern about the change in net-migration is a valid one, but I was disappointed the article did not really add perspective about the slowing nationwide population trends (of which this is in line), nor any comparisons with our regional peers, Jackson, Birmingham, Tulsa, Memphis, in which Little Rock's growth is quite favorable, and even exceeds all of those except Tulsa (and only just so).  Northwest Arkansas as a comparison is a complete outlier, and not representative of a more typical, mature market.

People aren't having as many kids, and are waiting later in life to have kids than in previous generations.  This hampers natural growth.  It's like that across the country.  The areas that see the 10-20% growth (Austin, Phoenix, Nashville, Raleigh, Charlotte, NWA) have the growth because people are flocking there for jobs or the "hot" place to live.  Salt Lake City may have the highest natural growth rate amongst metropolitan areas.  

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1 hour ago, MDC26 said:

People aren't having as many kids, and are waiting later in life to have kids than in previous generations.  This hampers natural growth.  It's like that across the country.  The areas that see the 10-20% growth (Austin, Phoenix, Nashville, Raleigh, Charlotte, NWA) have the growth because people are flocking there for jobs or the "hot" place to live.  Salt Lake City may have the highest natural growth rate amongst metropolitan areas.  

From 2000-2010, the metro added about 90,000, whereas from 2010-2020, it added about 50,000.  There are lots of factors impacting growth of course, but the difference (or drop-off) of net migration from 50,000 to about 20,000 would constitute most of the difference in growth.  It is interesting, because I recall reading in a Metroplan report a few years ago that they attributed the slowdown in growth this decade primarily to waning birth rates (nationwide), sort of inferring that the net migration in Central Arkansas hadn't changed much.  The data shows that net migration has slowed, which is unfortunate...I suspect mainly attributable to the growing "mindshare" in Arkansas of NWA as a viable, if not preferable (to some people) option to locate their families.  Central Arkansas has got to find a way to grab the mic back!

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2 hours ago, Architect said:

From 2000-2010, the metro added about 90,000, whereas from 2010-2020, it added about 50,000.  There are lots of factors impacting growth of course, but the difference (or drop-off) of net migration from 50,000 to about 20,000 would constitute most of the difference in growth.  It is interesting, because I recall reading in a Metroplan report a few years ago that they attributed the slowdown in growth this decade primarily to waning birth rates (nationwide), sort of inferring that the net migration in Central Arkansas hadn't changed much.  The data shows that net migration has slowed, which is unfortunate...I suspect mainly attributable to the growing "mindshare" in Arkansas of NWA as a viable, if not preferable (to some people) option to locate their families.  Central Arkansas has got to find a way to grab the mic back!

Yeah, the birthrate decrease isn't a new thing,  I was referring more historically.  Nationwide, its less than half what it was in the 50's, but still close to 25% less than it was in the 80's.  But yes, you are correct, there was more net migration into LR Metro from 2000-2010 than 2010-2020.  I don't know why specifically, maybe there was less available jobs and people moved to NWA or DFW instead.  Who knows?

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Yeah, the birthrate decrease isn't a new thing,  I was referring more historically.  Nationwide, its less than half what it was in the 50's, but still close to 25% less than it was in the 80's.  But yes, you are correct, there was more net migration into LR Metro from 2000-2010 than 2010-2020.  I don't know why specifically, maybe there was less available jobs and people moved to NWA or DFW instead.  Who knows?

I’m curious to see Metroplan’s official take on the final numbers, and in particular, what their projected trends are for the next 10. They did a 30 year projection in 2000 that was on target for 2010 but now off track for 2020…they didn’t anticipate slowing birth rates or perhaps a slowdown in migration. Who knows…the metro has grown slowly a few times here and there (1980’s), then really reversed those trends in following decades and grown rapidly (1990-2010). It’s interesting to try and estimate!


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28 minutes ago, Architect said:


I’m curious to see Metroplan’s official take on the final numbers, and in particular, what their projected trends are for the next 10. They did a 30 year projection in 2000 that was on target for 2010 but now off track for 2020…they didn’t anticipate slowing birth rates or perhaps a slowdown in migration. Who knows…the metro has grown slowly a few times here and there (1980’s), then really reversed those trends in following decades and grown rapidly (1990-2010). It’s interesting to try and estimate!


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Well, as they say "If you ain't growing your dying".  Moral of the story is go have more babies.  Matthew Yglesias' case for 1 Billion Americans is interesting, and I definitely think there's a lot of room for growth by filling cities back in.  Not sure about a billion though, but I do think Arkansas would be healthier with 4 million or so population.  

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9 minutes ago, MDC26 said:

Well, as they say "If you ain't growing your dying".  Moral of the story is go have more babies.  Matthew Yglesias' case for 1 Billion Americans is interesting, and I definitely think there's a lot of room for growth by filling cities back in.  Not sure about a billion though, but I do think Arkansas would be healthier with 4 million or so population.  

I've seen that book and find that argument quite valid...this country grew largely through immigration.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/15/2021 at 4:44 PM, Architect said:

I think you're off by a couple hundred people (I think Saline grew 15,763 versus Pulaski at 15,549)...but still, point well-made.  Impressive indeed. 

Maybe we are looking at different numbers, but I had Pulaski growing by 16,377 (382,748 to 399,125) and Saline growing by 16,298 (107,118 to 123,416).  Either way the difference is relatively minor.  

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8 hours ago, vbfl85 said:

Maybe we are looking at different numbers, but I had Pulaski growing by 16,377 (382,748 to 399,125) and Saline growing by 16,298 (107,118 to 123,416).  Either way the difference is relatively minor.  

You're right.  Your numbers match mine, so apparently I must have previously made a mistake with my math [don't tell my dad, who has a PhD in Math/Statistics!].

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