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What new 2016 population estimates say about the Greater Madison Region

What new 2016 population estimates say about the Greater Madison Region

On March 23, the U.S. Census Bureau released the 2016 population estimates for the country. This prompts an annual look at how areas and regions are changing and growing. In particular, how does the Greater Madison region compare?

Dane County Growth Compared to Wisconsin Counties

Dane County added 8,395 people from 2015 to 2016 (July 1 to July 1). This represents a 1.6 percent increase. This places Dane as the county with both the largest numerical and percentage increase in the state. Waukesha experienced the second most growth with 2,113 more people (an increase of 0.5 percent).
Looking at the decade, Dane County grew by 43,200 people, a rate of 8.8 percent. Brown County with an increase of 12,394 had the second largest increase (a 5.0 percent increase).

Growth Compared to Projections

Dane County is growing much faster than projected. The Wisconsin Department of Administration projected Dane County to grow by 42,547 over the 10-year period from 2010 to 2020. The county, however, already passed that number by 2016.

Madison Region Compared to Other Metro Regions

While Dane County outpaced others in Wisconsin, how did the region compare to metro regions nationally? For this comparison, the four-county metropolitan region (Dane, Green, Iowa and Columbia) defined by the Census works best.

The Madison metro region grew by almost the same numbers as Dane County: a one-year increase of 8,315 (2015-2016), and a six-year increase of 43,494 (2010-2016). The counties outside of Dane grew either very slowly (Columbia and Green) or slightly lost population (Iowa).

While Dane County’s growth seems impressive compared to the rest of the state, the Madison metro region’s growth rate of 7.2 percent (2010-2016) places it as the 91st fastest growing U.S. region, just making the top fourth out of 389 metros.

Madison Region Compared to Peer Regions

Three of Madison’s four  peer regions, as identified by the Madison Region Economic Partnership, grew faster from 2010 to 2016. The Austin, TX region grew at the second fastest rate of all U.S metros – 19.8 percent – adding 340,085 people during those six years. The regions of Raleigh, NC grew by 15.3 percent; Portland, OR by 8.9 percent; and Ann Arbor, MI by 5.7%.

However, from a Midwest perspective, the Madison region experienced the fourth highest metro growth rate, of 1.3 percent, from 2015 to 2016. Des Moines, IA topped this list with 2 percent, followed by Fargo, ND (1.9) and Sioux Falls, S.D. (1.5).

Components of Madison Region’s Population Increase: Births, Deaths, and Net Migration

Of the Madison region’s 43,492 increase so far this decade, slightly less than half, or 20,339, came from natural increase – births minus deaths. Net migration – people moving to the region minus those leaving – totaled 22,265. Of this net increase, 11,435 resulted from domestic, and 10,830 from international migration.

It is worth noting that a fourth of the region’s population gain came from international migration. This population driver could be affected by recent changes in national immigration policy, which could dampen international in-migration, particularly those coming to U.S. universities.