New Census numbers on daytime populationLast week the Census Bureau released new numbers estimating the daytime population of various cities and counties - meaning the resident population plus incoming commuters for the day. The goal is to have better data for transportation and disaster planning. If an evacuation situation occurs in a city, you have to evacuate all those daytime commuters in addition to the resident population. Just looking at the normal residential population would be misleading.
Various data tables are also available. Table 1 is particularly interesting, with a comparison of the top 10 cities. Houston has the third-largest numerical daytime population increase in the nation, with 403,313 new people coming in each day (a 20% increase), not far behind #2 DC at 410,794 and #1 NY at 563,060. Those three cities are significantly ahead of all the other large cities, which range from around a 100 to 260 thousand. Even cities with substantial heavy rail transit systems like Boston, SF, Philly, and Chicago don't bring in nearly as many commuters as we do.
Houston also has the highest employment to resident ratio of the ten largest cities at 1.48. Dallas is a close #2 at 1.42, but everybody else is way down between 1.09 and 1.24. What does this mean? It means we've been able to hold on to the lion's share of the metro job base (and the resulting commercial tax base), rather than it leaking out to the suburbs. We've been able to do this with a combination of annexation and massive freeway and HOV transportation investments into the core. Los Angeles has the worst traffic congestion of the top ten cities, and also has the lowest ratio at 1.09 - their jobs and employers have dispersed out to the suburbs.