Thursday, June 1, 2017
Data Points - A Closer Look at the Region's Growth

It’s no secret that the Charlotte Region is a growing area, but that growth is not evenly spread. Between 2010 and 2016, the 16-county region grew by a total of 9.7 percent, adding more than 256,000 people. But there's more to the story than that.

  • Five counties (Lancaster, Mecklenburg, York, Cabarrus and Union) grew by more than 12 percent
  • Three counties (Iredell, Gaston and Lincoln) grew by between 4 percent and 8.2 percent
  • Four counties (Catawba, Rowan, Alexander and Stanly) grew by less than 1 percent
  • Four counties (Anson, Chester, Chesterfield and Cleveland) lost population.

Lancaster County, South Carolina, had the highest overall percentage growth rate, 16.4 percent, during the 2010-2016 period, followed by Mecklenburg County (14.2 percent), York County, S.C. (13.9 percent), and Union County (12.1 percent).  

Shifts in county growth patterns occurred in this period, especial. For example, annual percentage growth in Mecklenburg County was the highest in the region until 2014, when Lancaster overtook it. Lancaster’s growth rate between 2012 and 2013 was only 1.6 percent. Between 2013 and 2014, however, a boom in home building near the Mecklenburg County border boosted that to 3.4 percent, which has increased every year since to 4.1 percent between 2015 and 2016.

Gaston County’s growth rate also shot up from 0.4 percent between 2010 and 2011 to nearly 2 percent between 2015 and 2016, giving Mecklenburg’s neighbor to the west a total 5.3 percent growth rate over this six-year period.

It’s important to note that as counties get larger, sustained percentage growth becomes more difficult to achieve. While Lancaster might be the fastest-growing county in the region currently, the 16% growth there includes only 12,638 additional people, while the 14.2% growth in Mecklenburg County includes more than 131,000 people since 2010, that’s more than 10 times the raw number of people as Lancaster.    

For more details, explore the following interactive dashboard with county-level detail for each year.

Posted by: Chuck McShane - Director of Business Analytics and Data @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Data Points - Charlotte MSA: A Metropolitan Magnet

The Charlotte Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) continues to grow. The 10-county area experienced an overall growth rate of 11.6 percent between 2010 and 2016, adding more than 257,000 people over those six years for a total population of 2,474,314 residents.

Migration, both domestic and international, drove the Charlotte area’s growth. A net total of more than 140,000 people moved into the Charlotte area from other parts of the country. Net international immigration exceeded 32,000 people. Natural increase (or births-deaths) exceeded 77,000.

Charlotte is the 22nd largest MSA in the United States. Among the largest 50 MSAs in the U.S., Charlotte’s 11.6 percent growth rate ranks seventh. Among all MSAs in the U.S., Charlotte’s growth over 2010 to 2016 ranks 34th in the nation

The dashboard below, created by the Charlotte Chamber Business Data and Analytics team using U.S. Census Bureau data, brings to light the population and migration dynamics of Charlotte and all other MSAs in the United States. Click through the map for details on each MSA’s population change as well as comparisons to Charlotte’s peer MSAs.   

The U.S. Census Bureau defines MSAs by commuting patterns. The Charlotte MSA includes: Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan and Union counties in North Carolina, as well as Chester, Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina.  

Posted by: Akofa Dossou, Business Data Analyst, Charlotte Chamber @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Data Points - Census Data Lunch and Learn Nearly Full; Sign Up Today!

Only a few spots remain for the Charlotte Chamber’s first Data Lunch and Learn. The April 12 session’s topic will focus on Using U.S. Census Data to Drive Business Insights.

You might not think about the U.S. Census much aside from the form you fill out every 10 years, but the breadth and depth of census data goes well beyond simple population counts. Census data are crucial to drive business, government and nonprofit decisions at all levels, from the neighborhood to the national. In the last few months alone, the Charlotte Chamber’s Business Analytics and Data Department has used census data to analyze domestic and international migration patterns,  neighborhood population growth, origins of Mecklenburg County’s immigrant population, and even the number of hours Charlotte business owners work.

Kelly Karres, data specialist for the U.S. Census bureau, will provide a demonstration and Q and A session on some census data tools useful for your business or nonprofit organization. The event will begin at 11:45 a.m. with networking, followed by lunch and the program from 12-1:30 p.m. Register here. For more information, contact Chuck McShane, Director of Business Analytics and Data, at This event is sponsored by Bank of America. 

Posted by: Chuck McShane, Director, Business Analytics & Data @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Data Points - How many hours do business owners work?

Running a business is hard work. But the amount of time business owners spend working each week can vary significantly, according to recent data from the U.S. Census’s Survey of Entrepreneurs.

Among the 50 largest metros, Charlotte ranked 13th overall in the percentage of businesses whose owners worked more than 40 hours each week. 48.6 percent of Charlotte business owners reported clocking in those extra hours.

Among Southern metros, Charlotte business owners ranked second hardest-working. Only Birmingham, Ala., business owners topped that percentage (50.3 percent). Overall, Providence, R.I., had the highest percentage of owners putting in more than 40 hours at 52.1 percent, followed by Hartford, Conn. (51.1 percent), Buffalo, N.Y. (51.0 percent) and Baltimore (50.9 percent).

Metros with the lowest percentages of owners working more than 40 hours include Seattle (41.5 percent), Salt Lake City (42.9 percent), San Jose (43.1 percent) and New York City (43.6 percent).  

Some owners prefer passive investments. That was most true in New Orleans, where 11.9 percent of majority owners said they spent no time working on their businesses most weeks. Austin, Texas (11.7 percent), Nashville, Tenn. (11.1 percent), and Jacksonville, Fla. (11 percent), also had high percentages of passive owners. Charlotte ranked 15th overall in this regard with 9.7 percent of business owners saying they spend no time on their businesses most weeks.

The wide variety in answers is likely related to differences in industry structure, sources of funding and other economic conditions. We’ll continue to explore those topics in future posts.

Posted by: Chuck McShane, Director, Business Analytics & Data @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Data Points - Why Charlotte's Growth Looks Like a Doughnut

Population change in Mecklenburg County Census Tracts, 2010-2015

It’s no secret that Mecklenburg County is growing. The county added more than 110,000 between 2010 and 2015 (the most recent year for which complete data is available). Total population now stands at 1,034,070 – 12 percent growth over 2010. But that growth hasn’t been evenly spread throughout. A look at Census tract data reveals a “doughnut” pattern of population growth.

High growth in uptown tracts was accompanied by gains in a ring of tracts eight or more miles away from uptown. Some exceptions to this include Census Tract 53.01, which includes areas along North Tryon and West Sugar Creek Road adjacent to NoDa. The fastest-growing tract, 59.15, grew by nearly 300 percent and includes the Ayrsley development in Southwest Charlotte.  

Tracts losing population tended to be directly north or west of the city or in “inner ring” suburbs such as Derita and Starmount. Tract 39.03, just east of Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, had the largest population decrease, losing more than 45% of its population during this period. In all, 46 out of 233 tracts in Mecklenburg County lost population.

Posted by: Chuck McShane, Director, Business Analytics & Data @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
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