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Old 05-11-2015, 10:52 AM
 
72 posts, read 118,194 times
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A city who's decrease is 9% or more? What do you perceive if you read these statistics?
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:27 AM
 
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I would be unable to look at population trends of a city alone to determine anything about it. That would be very short sighted.

How big is the city? What are it's suburbs like? Are it's suburbs also decreasing in population? Is it a regional decline? What is the weather like? What is the root cause of the the decline? Are other cities similar to it experiencing the same problems? Is it generally considered a trendy city?

That one variable alone says nothing. Just as there are more than a few cities with explosive growth rates that have almost no substance to them at all. But feel free to move to one of them because of good growth rates on paper.
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:45 AM
 
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Sure. There is more to a city's and it's metro's vitality than weather it is shrinking or growing.

Many southern and western cities that are growing are doing so by being able to annex the surrounding sprawl. These cities appear to be more vibrant and growing than Eastern and Great Lakes cities, but when you look at the metros as a whole, it is not so. Most Eastern and Great Lakes cities have been land locked their suburbs for 50 years or more and thus can only grow in population by becoming more dense as apposed to annexing new land. To add to it, many of the more vibrant of these older cities are seeing a lot of gentrification of their core neighborhoods where large old home that were originally single family but had become multi-family housing as Americans moved to the suburbs, are now seeing moving back into those homes and converting them back to single family residents. Naturally with less people living in the same house and with out any room to build new homes, you will see a drop in the number of residents in those neighborhoods - perfect example of how a vibrant city can show it's population dropping (Chicago).

Classic example:
Huntsville, AL ....growth rate of 13.8%....population of 180,105 (2010)....in a city of 210 sq miles.......metro of only 435,737. In a nut shell, this city is a giant, low density, suburb.............current unemployment rate 5.3%

Compare to Grand Rapids, MI (similar central city size) population 188,040 (2010).....growth rate -4.9%......the city's sq miles = 45.27......but the metro is 1,027,703 and had a +2.04% growth rate over all. ..........current unemployment rate 3.9%

Given the choice of the which of the two to live in, then I would take Grand Rapids hands down.
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Old 05-11-2015, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Somerville, MA
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Lots of things go into population decline. Many people see population decline as an indicator of a failing or struggling local economy. This is true sometimes, but not always.

As westernwilly pointed out, sometimes you need to look at the bigger picture. Grand Rapids is a good example. Chicago is another. The city itself declined in population as of the 2010 census (though 2013 estimates show slight growth). The metro area, however, continued to grow. Chicago is a healthy major city that I would enjoy moving to.

Gentrification often creates temporary drops in population numbers. Ultimately, gentrifying neighborhoods and cities grow, but at the beginning of the process, that's not always true. What happens with gentrification is the number of occupants per unit of housing often decrease. In some cases, actual units of housing decrease (multi-families turned into single families, etc). This is usually short term as gentrification usually means growth, but it can lead to temporary population declines in some cases.
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Austin
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I wouldn't want to move to a city that is losing people. The locals would know more than I would about an area. If they are abandoning ship, I have no desire to take their place. A 9% decrease is pretty bad.
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Old 05-11-2015, 02:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westernwilly View Post
Huntsville, AL ....growth rate of 13.8%....population of 180,105 (2010)....in a city of 210 sq miles.......metro of only 435,737. In a nut shell, this city is a giant, low density, suburb.............current unemployment rate 5.3%

Compare to Grand Rapids, MI (similar central city size) population 188,040 (2010).....growth rate -4.9%......the city's sq miles = 45.27......but the metro is 1,027,703 and had a +2.04% growth rate over all. ..........current unemployment rate 3.9%

Given the choice of the which of the two to live in, then I would take Grand Rapids hands down.
Fact check:

Since 2010 Census estimates have the city of Grand Rapids posting positive growth rates. 2.3% 2010-2013. I wouldn't really consider it a city in decline. Also the 1,027,703 number is from the 2014 estimates which is an almost 4% increase 2010-2014. I believe the 2.04% growth rate was 2000-2010. I understand what you were saying but your numbers don't match.
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Old 05-11-2015, 05:31 PM
 
72 posts, read 118,194 times
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It includes the suburbs as well for the decline in population. The population is approximately 305K and it's in the northeast. It is considered a very dreary city with unfavorable weather. I am unsure of the reason for the decline. Housing prices are very reasonable in certain areas but take a while to sell. I'd be uncertain to buy for this reason. I guess for the long run, it may not be bad. The unemployment rate isn't too bad and the crime is average. I had the same feelings as Eric but I guess reading the other posts, there are other things to factor. Westernwilly came up with a good point. How long is it going to take for an area to be gentrified is the question if that's the case. I am not against an up and coming area either. It still brings me back, if people are leaving, there must be a reason?
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Old 05-11-2015, 06:55 PM
 
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Usually in cities like you have described the reasons people are leaving are economic in nature. Such as a transition from a manufacturing/industrial economic base. Often times it can signal less disireability but not in every case. I'd go see for myself.
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:53 AM
 
Location: Pure Michigan!
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It would truly depend on why people are leaving. For example, if people were leaving an area that has a cold winter because of the past two unseasonably cold and snowy winters, then that would not be a determining factor for someone like me who doesn't necessarily enjoy a cold, snowy winter, but accepts it as a trade off for our beautiful, temperate, springs, summers, and falls.

Now, if it was because the city or state was being run into the ground and jobs and economic opportunity were leaving, then that's another story, because that would tend to have a more long term, negative effect on an area in terms of housing values, job opportunities, and other life changing factors.
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Old 05-12-2015, 05:48 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,259,760 times
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In a heartbeat. Unless I needed to find a job when I got there, and chances are, the dwindling labor pool might make that easy, too. First benefit would be the cost of buying or renting in a city where competing buyers/tenants are vanishing.

I am not so shallow that I would let my preference be dictated by the conventional wisdom and think I needed to follow the crowd to the magnet metros..
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