New Census estimates show more Northwest Arkansas population growth, Arkansas up 1.9% between 2010-2015

by Michael Tilley (mtilley@talkbusiness.net) 1,346 views 

U.S. Census estimate updates released Thursday (March 24) show that the Northwest Arkansas metro area accounted for most of the state’s population growth in the past five years, and only 35 of the nation’s 381 metro areas posted a higher population gain in the past five years than Northwest Arkansas.

The Northwest Arkansas metro – home to corporate giants Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Tyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt Transport, as well as the University of Arkansas – had population growth of 50,532 between April 2010 and July 1, 2015, according to updated Census data. During the past year (July 1, 2014 – July 1, 2015), the region’s population grew by 11,495.

Central Arkansas, the state’s largest metro by population, had five year growth of 31,789, and year-over-year growth of 2,652.

Of the seven metro areas in or with a significant portion in Arkansas, only two (Fort Smith, Pine Bluff) had declines in the five-year period. The Fort Smith metro lost an estimated 274 in population and the Pine Bluff metro population shrunk by 6,562.

Also, of the eight areas, only two (Hot Springs, Pine Bluff) had population declines in the 2014-2015 period. The Hot Springs population fell by 8 and the Pine Bluff metro lost 1,087. (See info on all eight areas at the bottom of this report.)

The Census estimates also provide a factor for business growth in the Jonesboro metro. The metro population has grown by 7,368 in the 2010-2015 period, and grew by 1,573 in the 2014-2015 period. Although the fifth largest Arkansas metro area by population, it ranked third in population growth between 2010-2015.

Following are the 2014 population estimates for seven metro areas primarily in Arkansas: Central Arkansas, 729,135; Northwest Arkansas, 501,563; Fort Smith, 279,592; Texarkana, 149,235; Jonesboro, 126,764; Pine Bluff, 94,716; and Hot Springs, 97,322.

31 PEOPLE PER DAY
But obviously the growth story is in Northwest Arkansas.

“The latest Census estimates show Northwest Arkansas grew by more than 31 people per day from July 2014 to July 2015. That’s a solid increase because our average day between the April 2010 Census and the July 2014 estimate brought us about 25 new people,” said Rob Smith, communications and policy director with the Northwest Arkansas Council.

He said the Census update confirms what they have been seeing in enplanement reports, building permit activity, home sales reports and other economic data.

“You can see all the construction. You can look at the reports about more jobs and company expansions, increases in local sales tax revenue, more people using our regional bus system and more people flying from the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport,” Smith said. “While none of those reports told us how many people were here, they sure led us to think the region was and still is headed in a good direction. The Census estimates are a fantastic confirmation of what many community leaders felt was happening in Northwest Arkansas.”

Arkansas’ population is estimated at 2.978 million as of July 1, 2015, up 1.9% compared to the 2.922 million as of July 1, 2010. The state’s population grew by 55,810 during that period, but grew at a slower pace than the rest of the nation. U.S. population is estimated at 321.418 million as of July 1, 2015, up 3.9% compared to July 1, 2010.

The Census Bureau develops county, metro area, and micro area population estimates by measuring population change since the most recent census. The Census Bureau uses births, deaths, administrative records and survey data to develop estimates of population. The estimates are important because they can impact funding levels of federal and state government programs.

NATIONWIDE CENSUS UPDATE HIGHLIGHTS
• The Villages, Fla., a metro area west of the Orlando metro area, was the nation’s fastest-growing metro area for the third year in a row, as its population increased 4.3% between 2014 and 2015. It was joined in the top 20 by five others in the Sunshine State: Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Punta Gorda, North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford and Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island.

• Five Texas metros – Midland, Odessa, Austin, College Station-Bryan and Houston – were also among the 20 fastest growing between 2014 and 2015.

• Houston, Austin and Orlando were the only three metro areas nationwide to be among both the 20 with the largest numeric gains and the 20 fastest growing (percentage gain) between 2014 and 2015.

• The nation’s metro areas contained 275.3 million people in 2015, an increase of about 2.5 million from 2014. Most (285 of the 381) metro areas nationwide gained population between 2014 and 2015.

• State population estimates released in December revealed that North Carolina added more than 100,000 people during the last year to become the ninth state with 10 million or more people.

• Los Angeles, Calif., is still the nation’s most populous county with 10.2 million people on July 1, 2015. The nation’s second-most populous county – Cook, Ill. – experienced its first population decline since 2007: 10,488 between 2014 and 2015 to 5.2 million.

• Two counties passed the 1 million population milestone between 2014 and 2015: Fulton, Ga., which is home to Atlanta (1,010,562), and Wake, N.C. (1,024,198). Wake, which includes Raleigh, was also the nation’s 19th largest numerical gainer among counties, adding nearly 25,000 people.

POPULATION ESTIMATES – ARKANSAS METRO AREAS
(arranged in order of 5-year growth/loss)
• Northwest Arkansas
April 1, 2010 – July 1, 2015
Population change: 50,352
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): 19,211
Migration: 30,385
Domestic migration: 22,549
International migration: 7,836

July 1, 2014 – July 1, 2015
Population change: 11,495
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): 3,711
Migration: 7,474
Domestic migration: 5,769
International migration: 1,705

• Central Arkansas
April 1, 2010 – July 1, 2015
Population change: 31,789
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): 18,484
Migration: 13,198
Domestic migration: 7,888
International migration: 5,310

July 1, 2014 – July 1, 2015
Population change: 2,652
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): 3,401
Migration: -998
Domestic migration: -2,133
International migration: 1,135

• Memphis-West Memphis
April 1, 2010 – July 1, 2015
Population change: 19,298
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): 40,479
Migration: -20,849
Domestic migration: -30,467
International migration: 9,618

July 1, 2014 – July 1, 2015
Population change: 1,213
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): 7,221
Migration: -7.998
Domestic migration: -5,868
International migration: 2,130

• Jonesboro metro
April 1, 2010 – July 1, 2015
Population change: 7,368
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): 2,664
Migration: 4,536
Domestic migration: 3,738
International migration: 798

July 1, 2014 – July 1, 2015
Population change: 1,573
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): 478
Migration: 986
Domestic migration: 801
International migration: 185

• Hot Springs metro
April 1, 2010 – July 1, 2015
Population change: 1,177
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): -1,272
Migration: 2,640
Domestic migration: 2,574
International migration: 66

July 1, 2014 – July 1, 2015
Population change: -8
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): -226
Migration: 218
Domestic migration: 200
International migration: 18

• Texarkana metro
April 1, 2010 – July 1, 2015
Population change: 574
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): 2,129
Migration: -1,416
Domestic migration: -1,677
International migration: 261

July 1, 2014 – July 1, 2015
Population change: 403
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): 377
Migration: -29
Domestic migration: -90
International migration: 61

• Fort Smith metro
April 1, 2010 – July 1, 2015
Population change: -274
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): 3,015
Migration: -3,309
Domestic migration: 4,562
International migration: 1,253

July 1, 2014 – July 1, 2015
Population change: 420
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): 606
Migration: -230
Domestic migration: -521
International migration: 291

• Pine Bluff metro
April 1, 2010 – July 1, 2015
Population change: -6,562
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): 569
Migration: -7,062
Domestic migration: -7,192
International migration: 130

July 1, 2014 – July 1, 2015
Population change: -1,087
Natural growth (difference between births and deaths): 99
Migration: -1,112
Domestic migration: -1,144
International migration: 32

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