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October 3, 2012

U.S. Census Releases Analysis of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Population Change

The U.S. Census has released an analysis of the population changes in Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical areas (MSAs) between 2000 and 2010. The analysis discusses changes in population density, population near the center of MSAs, racial and ethnic composition, age groups, and gender. The report provides many cross-MSA comparisons and highlights national trends such as the overall increase in downtown densities and the rising Hispanic population. The Census has also created supplementary materials, including a mapping utility and interactive spreadsheets to compares MSAs.

The Chicago-Joliet-Naperville MSA -- a 14-county area that includes all of the CMAP region, plus parts of Indiana and Wisconsin -- was highlighted in the report for several reasons. The Chicago-Joliet-Naperville MSA had the largest raw count and percentage population growth within its downtown, defined for all regions as the area within two miles of the city hall of the region's primary city. The Chicago-Joliet-Naperville MSA's "downtown" population increased by more than 48,000, or 36 percent, between 2000 and 2010. Similarly, the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville MSA was highlighted because it exhibited a strong example of a nationwide trend: growth concentrated in inner urban and outer suburban areas, with population declines in inner ring suburbs. This trend was particularly strong in Chicago's 25-34 age group, a demographic that often chooses urban locations over suburban.