Real Estate Big Data

US Census results show times are a changing (so might your business)

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(BIG DATA) New Census data gives us insight into a few key takeaways regarding population shifts and how this is affecting the real estate market.

The Census results are in

Seriously, get excited. It’s hard to get psyched for spreadsheets. I get that. But the US Census results are as important as spreadsheets get, and for real estate in particular, it’s vital to know who’s where and why.

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The details for the 2016 census came in last week, and while it’s not mandatory reading, Trulia has taken a deep dive into the subject.

The details are absolutely worth your time, but here are four big takeaways for anyone in the business:

1. America is old

Ironically, the most important demographic trend in the eternal geopolitical adolescent that is the United States, full to the brim though it is of new tech and youth-worshipping advertising, is the increasing prevalence and importance of older adults.

To state the obvious, more old folks around is a very good thing.

For one, it means our overall health is improving. For another, it means a more stable, consistency-oriented marketplace than us twitchy millennials and Gen Y types.

As we’ve previously written, older Boomers are taking over the housing market. The fact that every one of the 100 major metro areas in the United States saw an increase in the population of adults 65 years of age or older, representing growth from 14.9% to 15.2% of the national population, is big news for real estate, because those folks buy it.

2. America is not white

For any of y’all still laboring under the impression that America is supposed to be a solely European-American nation – seriously guys, not since Leif Erickson’s brother-in-law ran screaming from the people who are actually from here; come to The Real Daily for all your obscure historical trivia needs – Caucasian population (that’s just fun to write) has shown neither growth nor decline in the last two years.

Nationwide, all population growth between 2015 and now has been 50.7% Hispanic, 23.4% Asian, 15.8% black, 8.6% people identifying as two or more of those races, and a whopping 0.2% Caucasian.

Importantly, white populations aren’t declining either. America’s just made up of everybody. Market likewise.

3. Trends stay trending

For all of the rhetoric on both sides of the political spectrum, the demographic changes shown in the Census track what trends they’ve clocked since the far-away days of the year 2000. In fact, population change has slowed in that time: between 2000 and 2010 the population grew at a rate of 0.9%; from 2010 to the present it’s slowed to 0.7%.

Immigration has not spiked, nor have demographics undergone substantial changes nationwide. That’s the math.

If someone says otherwise, exercise skepticism.

4. Cities are changing

Trends may be consistent nationwide, but there are always outliers, and outliers can mean opportunity.

Notably, as of the most recent census 26 of American’s 100 biggest metro areas are majority-minority, which is to say, the minority population taken as a whole is larger than the Caucasian one. That’s the same as 2015, but representative of a substantial change over time: in 2000, there were just 14.

Urban populations are absolutely getting more diverse, and people doing business in those places need to take note.

Some are also moving in surprising directions.

The Hispanic population of the Bay Area, California is declining: the only two metros of the 100 tracked by the census that showed a decline in Hispanic population this year are San Francisco and San Jose. Conversely, the most rapidly changing cities are Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida, both of which saw a major influx of Hispanic-Americans this year as well as the last.

Interestingly, Las Vegas also saw a rise in both its Hispanic and Asian-American population.

That’s the word from the American org chart. Time to do business accordingly.

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