Tuesday, May 13, 2014

First Glance at A Tale of 2000 Cities: Go Ahead, Look

I can't say I've heard of the Demand Institute before.  Their creative, data-filled web-based report on states and cities is going to catch attention though.   It's memorable and worth a deeper look.

Blue collar, Ohio cities beware though.  The "R" word is present, in name and data.

The graphics version of the report shows the ups and downs of median housing prices in the nation between the Years 2000 and 2018.  California never reaches their peak.  Ohio does, before 2018.

The graphics also allow one to zoom in on states and cities.  There are 2,200 cities in the list, meaning the Demand Institute drilled down into metro areas and looked at city boundaries, not just metropolitan areas like most reports tend to do.
As one might expect, red is bad and green is good. 
Cleveland got red.  Green got green.
Purple sort of lets you off the hook--Cincinnati got one of those and so did Pittsburgh. 
Orange means there's a mix of news--Newark got one of those along with 524 other cities in the United States.  25 million people live in places labeled like Newark, Ohio.
The only other place making the list in Licking County was Pataskala, getting a near-green dot for its growing population factors.  Mayor Compton will be pleased to learn his city is contemporary with "distinctive services" and "wide-ranging amenities."  Pataskala is one of only four Ohio cities with this status.  The others were Pickerington, Dublin, and Avon.
It's hard not to take it personally.  Apparently, I've never lived in a "green dot" place.  Even Oxford, Ohio didn't garner green-shaded status.  I've proudly lived in Massillon, Canton, Springfield, and Steubenville--all which garnered red dots.
I've not read the text report, though a quick search found "Rust Belt" mentioned twice with Ohio alongside the term both times.  That's a red flag to me.
I'm betting from the graphics version of the report that the criteria favors white collar cities over blue collar ones.  Since it takes a look back to 2000 and relies on past data, it can't tend to predict a return of manufacturing giving a boost to blue collar towns in the Industrial Midwest. 
Let's face it.  The last dozen years or so have been tough on Ohio's economy.  Reports like this bear that out.
The report greatly is weighted on housing value.  Expensive housing is the magnet for better dot status.  The "Affluent Metroburbs" group accounts for 20% of the housing value among listed cities yet only 9% of the population lives in such places.  There are no such 'burbs in Ohio and only one in the five surrounding states. 
I'd say A Tale of 2000 Cities is worth a look.  However, don't go in with blinders on. 

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