Thursday, July 10, 2008

Houston nation's fastest growing city last year

We're officially the fastest growing city in the country last year (HAIF hat tip), adding almost 39,000 people (1.8%) inside the city limits to 2.2m. Phoenix, San Antonio, Forth Worth, and New Orleans round out the top 5 (NOLA bouncing back from a 50+% cut post-Katrina).

Peter Brown often laments that Houston is not getting its "fair share" of growth vs. the metro, but we seem to be doing better than every other city in the country, including much larger NYC, as well as LA and Chicago - and even better than smart growth Portland on both a numbers and percentage basis (since 2006 and even 2000, where they only grew 4% vs. our 10%). One of Peter Brown's stated models for master-planned growth and densification, Dallas only did one-quarter as well (one-fifth as well since 2000) on a population base about half ours.

When looking at gains since the 2000 census, we come in #2, just behind NYC on a base one-quarter their size (266K/8m vs. 254K/2m, or 13% - same % as ultra-hot Austin). Unlike Phoenix, SA, and FW, we don't actually have vast swaths of undeveloped land in the city limits that are getting built out with new suburban development - this growth is coming from redevelopment and natural densification driven by market forces and not impeded by our light regulatory touch - making us pretty unique among the growth leaders.

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At 11:15 AM, July 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good news, and to think Mr. Brown was against the densification by the Ashby project.

People need to look at the Washington Ave area. From downtown to Memorial Park that area to me is densifying the fastest. And look, no LRT in place from METRO...

At 11:38 AM, July 10, 2008, Blogger ian said...

Geez KJB, it's coming! Just gotta wait till Phase 3. Never saw you so impatient for transit! ;-)

At 12:27 PM, July 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not really sure I understand the value of growth qua growth. As the price of oil has gone up, Houston has grown. As the rest of the country has slipped into recession, Houston's economy has had an energy-led boom. So of course we've grown. So what?

At 1:02 PM, July 10, 2008, Blogger Brian Shelley said...

I really do think that Houston's growth is impressive, especially in light of the fact that we haven't had any major annexations, and like Tory pointed out, wide open spaces for easy development.

While Houston makes up about 38% of the MSA population, it captured about 32% of the growth. Clearly Mr. Brown is way off. That trend is actually growing over the last few years.

Percent of MSA growth that Houston captured from year previous

2007 32.3%
2006 50.0% (Katrina)
2005 15.3%
2004 23.1%
2003 18.8%
2002 13.5%
2001 14.2%

At 2:51 PM, July 10, 2008, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Robert, here's why it matters, and it's good:

At 7:08 PM, July 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Further analysis of metro areas available from HAIF link.

At 9:49 AM, July 11, 2008, Blogger Michael said...

This really is comparing apples and oranges.

San Antonio is about to pass up Philadelphia too! But is this actually a meaningful thing? Philadelphia city is 135 square miles. And San Antonio is 407 sq. miles. Houston is 602 square miles - one of the largest cities by land area in the country. So to truly compare Houston to Chicago, we may as well be talking about metro areas, because Chicago is only 237 square miles - roughly 40% of "Houston city's" area.

What are we passing them up in, other than some arbitrary, BS number?

San Antonio can be proud to soon by the 6th biggest city in the country. But meanwhile, it is only the 29th largest metro area. And Houston is #9. Source


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