Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Charlotte Immigration Trends in the 21st Century

People come to Charlotte from all over the world. In fact, nearly 230,000 foreign-born people live in the Charlotte metro area as of the last American Community Survey county. That's up from only 105,000 in 2000.

Five countries account for 47 percent of the foreign-born population in the area. Those include long-established Mexican and Vietnamese communities as well as fast-growing El Salvadoran, Honduran and Indian populations. The Indian-born community grew by about 451 percent since 2000, accounting for the largest numerical growth of a foreign-born community, adding more than 18,000 people since 2000 to become the second-largest foreign-born population. 

Charlotte's international business relationships are continuing to grow as well, with more than 1,000 firms from 45 countries employing more than 66,000 people in the area. For more on international business in Charlotte, browse our International Businesses publication and purchase our International Business Directory.

Explore this interactive map for more stats on Charlotte's international communities. 

Posted by: Chuck McShane - Director of Business Analytics and Data @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Monday, February 12, 2018
How much does it cost to live in Charlotte?

Charlotte remains less expensive to live in than most large cities. In 2017, it cost about 96.2 percent of the national average, according to the recently released C2ER Cost of Living Index, based on data collected by the Charlotte Chamber and other chambers and economic development organizations throughout the United States.

What’s that mean? Mecklenburg County’s most recent average wage of $64,855. In the country’s most expensive city, the Manhattan borough of New York, you would need to pull in $160,856 to match the purchasing power of the average wage in Charlotte.

Charlotte was the 10th least expensive city among the largest 40 metro areas in the country. Among its Southern peers, Charlotte came in as less expensive than Raleigh (96.4), Nashville (96.7), Atlanta (99.0) and Dallas (102.1).

Five factors – groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous services – make up the index. Even with a tight housing market, Charlotte’s housing costs were about 86.7 percent of the national average. In the grocery space, where costs in Charlotte were 96.6 percent of the national average, increased competition from new national chains entering the market has kept prices down. Transportation costs (96.3) were also below the national average and utilities costs matched the national average. Health care (105.4) and miscellaneous services (101.4) were slightly higher.

Check out our report for more details and prices on everything from hamburgers to houses.

Posted by: Chuck McShane @ 5:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Why Charlotte Natives Might Be A Rare Find at Your Office

It's no secret the Charlotte is a magnet for people from throughout the country and world. But what about that rare breed - the Charlotte native? It's almost an old saying in Charlotte now that "nobody's from here." At the Charlotte Chamber, we took a look at the data to see why this saying rings true to a lot of people. 

Data by state of birth is readily available from the U.S Census Bureau, so we took a closer look at North Carolina natives living in eight N.C. counties and South Carolina natives living in two S.C. counties (York and Lancaster). Not surprisingly, Mecklenburg County had the lowest percentage of native-born residents at 40.6 percent. Even that number seemed high to people around the Chamber office (which probably has a higher concentration of Charlotte and NC natives than many offices in town). So we dug a bit deeper, taking a look at age groups and educational attainment. 


Looking at age groups made it possible to separate out children and college-aged young adults for a clearer picture of why you might have not run into "native" Charlotteans at your Charlotte office. While more than 80 percent of under 5 year olds and 66 percent of 5 to 17 year olds in Mecklenburg were born in North Carolina, only 25 percent of 35 to 44-year-olds were born in state. The percentage of natives creeps back up to 40 percent for those 75 and older. The county with the largest concentration of native-born adults was Rowan County, where 63.3 percent of the adult 25 and over population was born in North Carolina. 

Other interesting trends in the data show the growth of young families moving to York and Lancaster County, even from within the region. Around 80 to 90 percent of under 5-year-olds in N.C. counties studied were born in state. Only 50.5 percent of Lancaster County young children were born in South Carolina. That percentage was 52.4 percent in York County.      

Levels of education among in-state-born and out-of-state-born residents also showed significant differences. Only 24.5 percent of holders of bachelor's or higher in Mecklenburg County were born in North Carolina. That total was even lower in Lancaster (21.9 percent) and Union (23.4 percent).

In terms of raw numbers, About 204,111 people ages 25 and above living in Mecklenburg County were born in North Carolina. Of those, 76,775 hold bachelor's degrees or higher. This disparity in education attainment between those born here and those from elsewhere, while not unique to Charlotte, is part of the challenges the Leading on Opportunity Taskforce as well as the chamber's workforce and talent development efforts are focused on tackling.


A few caveats on the data. This includes only state of birth. People, like myself, born in other parts of North Carolina are included as in-state while people born in Fort Mill are not. People who moved to Charlotte from out of state as young children and grew up here are also not included in the totals.  

Posted by: Chuck McShane - Director of Business Analytics and Data @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
The (Possible) Future of Growth in North Carolina - Some Very Preliminary Projections

The U.S. Census Bureau gave researchers and data geeks everywhere an early Christmas present on Wednesday, dropping their most recent state population projections as of July 1, 2017. The results were what we've come to expect in recent years. Southern and Western states, boosted by internal migration, grew the fastest, while Northeastern and Midwestern states grew slower. Indications of a downturn in oil and other natural resource extraction industries were evident in population losses in North Dakota and West Virginia. Perhaps the most striking loss of population was in Illinois, which lost 33,703 people. 

North Carolina's growth continued, topping 10.3 million people and retaining its spot as the ninth largest state in the country. In fact, the Census Bureau's 2016 estimate was adjusted upwards by 10,000 people. Officially, the state added around 117,000 people in the July 2016-July 2017 period.  About 87,000 of those people moved from other states or other countries. South Carolina added nearly 65,000 people, 54,000 of those from other states or countries. 

North Carolina's recent growth and consistent move up in the rankings, coupled with the somewhat stagnant growth of Northeastern and "Rust Belt" powerhouses like New York and Illinois, got me thinking about when and how our state might move up in the rankings. So, just for fun on this holiday week where we close out 2017 and look forward to the new year, I took the time to project state population rankings out 154 years to 2171. 


If 2016-2017 growth rates hold steady, North Carolina stands to gain in population and influence over the next 20-30 years. How much and when? Pick a year on the interactive map below to see how the rankings might shift. 

  • In 2033, NC will overtake Illinois and Ohio to become the 7th largest state in the US with 12.3 million people
  • In 2040, NC will leapfrog Pennsylvania to become the 6th largest state in the US with 13.3 million people
  • In 2074, NC will overtake Southeastern rival Georgia to become the 5th largest state in the US with 19.705 million people
  • In 2079, NC will finally overtake New York, but will remain in 5th place because Washington State will have outpaced NC for the No. 4 spot.
  • By 2171, NC will fall again to the 7th largest state as Washington, Arizona and Nevada move up the rankings and Texas, Florida and California remain in the top 5. 

A few caveats, these projections are based strictly on the 2016-2017 growth rate. This growth rate is unlikely to remain steady and there are a host of other factors - demographic changes, economic shifts, fertility rates, natural disasters, etc., that could effect these rankings. Professional and academic demographers might take these into account where I have not. Again, it's Christmas week, and this is a 154-year projection. Don't take it too seriously.  

Posted by: Chuck McShane, Director, Business Analytics & Data @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Where are all these millennials coming from?

You only have to visit a brewery or walk down the Rail Trail on a Saturday to know that young people love Charlotte. An analysis from Smart Asset recently noted that Charlotte was the number 1 city for net millennial in-migration. According to that report, the city added nearly 11,000 20-to-34-year-olds in 2015. But from where are all those millennials moving? A better question might be; "where are they not coming from?" The map below shows the top metro areas for net in-migration of millennials to the Charlotte area. 

Large cities and college towns were heavily represented among top metros for movement into the Charlotte MSA, demonstrating our region's ability to attract young talent. 


Select origin MSAs for millennial in-migration to Charlotte MSA 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau MSA-to-MSA migration flows, 2011-2015


MSA Moving to Charlotte MSA Moving out of Charlotte MSA Net millennial migration
New York MSA 2,592 833 1,759
Columbia, SC MSA 1,790 951 839
Philadelphia MSA 653 238 418
Charleston, SC MSA 828 482 346
Atlanta MSA 1,099 786 313
Hartford, CT MSA 252 0 252
Los Angeles MSA 453 258 205
Greenville, SC MSA 895 692 203
St. Louis MSA 286 109 177
Dallas MSA 276 130 146


Posted by: Chuck McShane @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
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