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Old 08-25-2021, 08:45 PM
 
Location: Mishawaka, Indiana
7,011 posts, read 11,251,192 times
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As 2020 Census results continue to roll out I find myself examining population trends for all cities I have a unique interest in. A few things struck me immediately about Kalamazoo that were awfully surprising.



1. The city of Kalamazoo itself actually lost population. Going from 74,262 in 2010 to 73,598 in 2020. A small drop, but a drop nonetheless.
2. The county itself saw decent growth actually, from 250,331 in 2010 to 261,670 in 2020. Portage also picked up about 2,000 people. So it would seem perhaps some people are leaving Kalamazoo to go to the county and/or Portage?
3. Now for the most serious question of them all. Kalamazoo Metropolitan Statistical Area normally includes Kalamazoo County and neighboring Van Buren County. However, in the newest census, it would appear Van Buren county is no longer included in the MSA? I don't know if this is an exact figure of the MSA or not. Please look at the attached link and share your thoughts and ideas on the MSA?


Also, please share your thoughts on Kalmazoo itself. I had thought there was a lot of positive momentum in the city over the last decade. It's always sad to see cities lose population, even if it is a small amount.


https://data.dispatch.com/census/tot...rea/320-28020/


FYI, you can also type into the search bar of that page other cities and MSA's. If you scroll all the way down to the bottom you will see the map outlining the counties in the MSA.
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Old 08-26-2021, 06:49 AM
 
Location: Louisville
5,015 posts, read 5,259,565 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdAilment View Post
As 2020 Census results continue to roll out I find myself examining population trends for all cities I have a unique interest in. A few things struck me immediately about Kalamazoo that were awfully surprising.



1. The city of Kalamazoo itself actually lost population. Going from 74,262 in 2010 to 73,598 in 2020. A small drop, but a drop nonetheless.
2. The county itself saw decent growth actually, from 250,331 in 2010 to 261,670 in 2020. Portage also picked up about 2,000 people. So it would seem perhaps some people are leaving Kalamazoo to go to the county and/or Portage?
3. Now for the most serious question of them all. Kalamazoo Metropolitan Statistical Area normally includes Kalamazoo County and neighboring Van Buren County. However, in the newest census, it would appear Van Buren county is no longer included in the MSA? I don't know if this is an exact figure of the MSA or not. Please look at the attached link and share your thoughts and ideas on the MSA?


Also, please share your thoughts on Kalmazoo itself. I had thought there was a lot of positive momentum in the city over the last decade. It's always sad to see cities lose population, even if it is a small amount.
Point 1. The surprise drop in the city population follows all Michigan core cities. Even Grand Rapids was over estimated by about 1000 residents. Kalamazoo County also follows the trend of suburbs outperforming estimates. This was actually the case in quite a few cities across the country whose borders are largely limited to inner city neighborhoods, and are walled off by incorporated communities and are unable to annex. (Cities especially out west that have huge land areas with large suburban swaths faired better in this regard).

Since this trend was the same in multiple cities across multiple states there is speculation that the decision to stop the manual door to door counting process early, caused an undercount in traditional inner city neighborhoods with low response rates. Logically I believe this would be the case in Kalamazoo. As it stands Kzoo is now the 3rd largest city in Western Michigan after being surpassed by Grand Rapids' suburb Wyoming.

Point 3. Kalamazoo metro did not lose population or influence over Van Buren County. Van Buren County was removed during the 2018 metro alignment and must be just under the commuting threshold based on whatever convoluted formula the OMB uses to calculate. If you look at the "OnTheMap" tool from the census it still shows over 25.6% of Van Buren Counties workforce commutes into Kzoo County. I can't figure out why it was removed but needless to say there are more than a few examples I am finding where a county was removed, or added to an MSA and the math doesn't appear to match the guideline.

The link you posted from the Dispatch shows the metro alignment that was in place at the time of the 2010 census. It's not an apples to apples comparison. The 2010 census had county alignments from 2003, which are now almost 20 years old. The 2003 alignments took metro areas that had long been considered as one region and statistically separated them. It was awful, places like Oakland County Michigan were considered their own metro area which made NO sense.

Be careful when looking at the 2010 census numbers from the Dispatch, and keep in mind you're looking at numbers for a 20 year old geographical configuration. The folks at the Dispatch did an amazing job with this database but they didn't have the foresight to make the 2010 metro number match current alignments. If you look at the numbers for Grand Rapids you would think the Grand Rapids metro grew almost 40%(300,000), when in reality all that happened was Ottawa County added back into the GR MSA. You will find this for every metro that has gone through a significant realignment since 2003.

In short I think the numbers on paper have a lot of factors in them and are not giving an accurate perception of what's happening on the ground. I'm not even sure if i believe Kzoo city actually lost people. The other counties in southwest Michigan are losing population and a fairly alarming rate, but I think it would pre mature to consider Kalamazoo as a decliner.
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Old 08-26-2021, 06:54 AM
 
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I don't know enough about Van Buren County to understand why it dropped from the Kalamazoo MSA, but Kalamazoo has been doing fine. I'm guessing the drop in city population is primarily coming from the drop in enrollment at WMU. I believe this trend has been seen in other college towns across the state. WMU has seen a drop in enrollment by about 25% over the last 15-20 years. Enrollment last year was 20490, down from about 24000 in 2010. So the difference in enrollment probably explains why the city lost about 750 people. Taking out the drop in enrollment, I believe the city actually grew.
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Old 08-26-2021, 03:30 PM
 
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Kalamazoo's 2020 census drop is primarily from the lack of Students on campus last year. There has been a story for college towns all across the nation for the past year:
https://www.onlineathens.com/story/s...ount/43140055/

East Lansing, Mt Pleasant, MI, Bloomington, IN, Athens, OH, ect... all lost population to name a few. Tempe, AZ lost over 15K from 2019!
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Old 08-26-2021, 03:37 PM
 
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https://mtgis-portal.geo.census.gov/...ed2b2fd7ff6eb7

The 2020 census track shows less than 50% occupancy on campus and only 70-85% occupancy for the rental neighborhoods around campus in 2020. In short, the 2020 census was a total bust for collage towns across the nation.

To get a true count, then they should have waited until after the pandemic.
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Old 08-26-2021, 04:30 PM
 
Location: Mishawaka, Indiana
7,011 posts, read 11,251,192 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westernwilly View Post
Kalamazoo's 2020 census drop is primarily from the lack of Students on campus last year. There has been a story for college towns all across the nation for the past year:
https://www.onlineathens.com/story/s...ount/43140055/

East Lansing, Mt Pleasant, MI, Bloomington, IN, Athens, OH, ect... all lost population to name a few. Tempe, AZ lost over 15K from 2019!

A sampling of the B1G in the 2020 census:

Madison - 21.5% growth (Fastest growing city in Wisconsin)
Ann Arbor - 8.7% growth
Iowa City - 9% growth
West Lafayette - 33.7% growth (Lafayette also posted a modest 5% gain, Tippecanoe County passed Vanderburgh County for 7th most populous county in Indiana)
College Park - 12.5% growth





Many other college towns also saw growth, Ames Iowa, Lincoln Nebraska, Champaign, Mankato Minnesota, etc.
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Old 08-26-2021, 04:49 PM
 
443 posts, read 451,525 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdAilment View Post
A sampling of the B1G in the 2020 census:

Madison - 21.5% growth (Fastest growing city in Wisconsin)
Ann Arbor - 8.7% growth
Iowa City - 9% growth
West Lafayette - 33.7% growth (Lafayette also posted a modest 5% gain, Tippecanoe County passed Vanderburgh County for 7th most populous county in Indiana)
College Park - 12.5% growth





Many other college towns also saw growth, Ames Iowa, Lincoln Nebraska, Champaign, Mankato Minnesota, etc.
Yes, many college towns grew from 2010 to 2020. However, when you look at the projected 2019 numbers to their 2020 census numbers, then you often find huge drops. Bottom line is, much of the student populations were not counted in full. Also, both Iowa City and West Lafayette lost population from 2019 to 2020.
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Old 08-26-2021, 05:19 PM
 
189 posts, read 93,449 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdAilment View Post
A sampling of the B1G in the 2020 census:

Madison - 21.5% growth (Fastest growing city in Wisconsin)
Ann Arbor - 8.7% growth
Iowa City - 9% growth
West Lafayette - 33.7% growth (Lafayette also posted a modest 5% gain, Tippecanoe County passed Vanderburgh County for 7th most populous county in Indiana)
College Park - 12.5% growth





Many other college towns also saw growth, Ames Iowa, Lincoln Nebraska, Champaign, Mankato Minnesota, etc.
I could be wrong, but I believe most flagship schools are still growing in enrollment across the country. You listed cities home to those flagship schools in every case except Mankato, MN. There are certainly exceptions to the rule. The enrollment drop is hitting the non flagship schools.

So the comparison here should be other MAC schools that aren't in a big city. I didn't count Akron, Buffalo or Toledo since they anchor 500k metros. I struggled with Kent but decided to include it. Muncie, IN, Mt Pleasant, MI, DeKalb, IL, Kalamazoo, MI and Kent, OH all lost population in their city limits (where students would primarily live) this decade. Athens, OH was stagnant. Only Bowling Green, OH, Oxford, OH and Ypsilanti, MI gained population.

Ypsilanti is next door to Ann Arbor and is most likely getting the students who are priced out of Michigan. Miami is a good school and also more than likely gaining from suburban Cincinnati. In reality, Bowling Green is the only that seems like the outlier that I can't explain.

Of the 9 MAC cities I looked at, 5 lost population along with 1 stagnant one.

The summary is I don't think Kalamazoo is struggling, it's a nationwide trend. Remember, when factoring out the enrollment drop, Kalamazoo would have gained population.
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Old 08-26-2021, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Mishawaka, Indiana
7,011 posts, read 11,251,192 times
Reputation: 5788
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartonro View Post
I could be wrong, but I believe most flagship schools are still growing in enrollment across the country. You listed cities home to those flagship schools in every case except Mankato, MN. There are certainly exceptions to the rule. The enrollment drop is hitting the non flagship schools.

So the comparison here should be other MAC schools that aren't in a big city. I didn't count Akron, Buffalo or Toledo since they anchor 500k metros. I struggled with Kent but decided to include it. Muncie, IN, Mt Pleasant, MI, DeKalb, IL, Kalamazoo, MI and Kent, OH all lost population in their city limits (where students would primarily live) this decade. Athens, OH was stagnant. Only Bowling Green, OH, Oxford, OH and Ypsilanti, MI gained population.

Ypsilanti is next door to Ann Arbor and is most likely getting the students who are priced out of Michigan. Miami is a good school and also more than likely gaining from suburban Cincinnati. In reality, Bowling Green is the only that seems like the outlier that I can't explain.

Of the 9 MAC cities I looked at, 5 lost population along with 1 stagnant one.

The summary is I don't think Kalamazoo is struggling, it's a nationwide trend. Remember, when factoring out the enrollment drop, Kalamazoo would have gained population.
Excellent point. I think you may be onto something. I have to wonder what the population would have been if not for the pandemic? Probably a modest 4% growth, moving up to 77-78,000 would be my best guess.
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