Population Growth and Prosperity Don't Go Hand in Hand

If your city isn't attracting hordes of new residents does that mean it's not growing economically? Richard Florida and his colleagues seek to undermine those who equate population growth with economic health.
October 2, 2013, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"As I wrote in my feature on economic recovery for The Atlantic, while many people use population as a way to gauge regional growth or decline, it actually tells us little about economic growth," says Florida. "To shed light on the connection  or, really, lack of  one between population growth and economic growth, my team and I tracked not just the recovery period but also for the entire decade of the 2000s."

"Their main conclusion: There is little, if any connection, between the two," he continues. "Here's the rub: Across the nation, fewer than one in five metros (19 percent) experienced both population growth and productivity growth over the past decade. There was no statistical association between the two, according to the team's analysis."

In a swipe at those that look to population growth as the sign of a healthy metro area, Florida concludes that "America's economic winners are not those places that are growing population fastest, but those that are developing the skills and capabilities that improve their underlying productivity."

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Published on Monday, September 30, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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