Pop Goes The Future
US Census Bureau projections suggest the populations of Nevada, Arizona, and Florida will increase by at least 21% between 2005 and 2015. The populations of Texas, Idaho, Utah, North Carolina, and Georgia will grow between 15% and 20%.
The top states for growth in actual numbers are California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, and Georgia. Each of these states will grow by a million persons or more in the next decade.
The population shifts are even more pronounced when looking at trends from 2005 through 2030. Arizona is expected to be the 10th most populous state, up from 17th today. North Carolina moves from 11th position to 7th. California and Texas will have 10 million more people. Florida will have 11 million more.
By comparison, the populations of large states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Massachusetts are projected to grow by a combined 1.1 million people. Put another way, the population of Florida is expected to grow ten times as much as New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Massachusetts combined.
And it won’t be all older people. The populations of the growth states will not “age” faster than the rest of the country. If anything, they will age a bit more slowly than average.
The implications of these shifts are significant. Many stations in growth states should see increases in audience despite emerging technologies. Stations in no-growth states are going to have to work harder to maintain their current audiences and financial support.
Most important, the census projections suggest that the days of a national audience growth strategy are numbered. As a mature industry, understanding and acting on the circumstances of individual markets will play an increasingly important role in public radio’s success.
Thanks to Scott Williams of KJZZ, Phoenix for suggesting this piece.