OT: Arkansas slips one spot on Census list

Census Bureau released the list of state populations that are used to distribute seats in Congress. Arkansas moved over 3 million official population for the first time, with an increase of 95,695 since 2010, but slipped to 34th in population. We passed Mississippi in population since the 2010 census but were passed by Nevada and Utah. Still four congressional seats though.

Just found that interesting. My new home of NC picked up 900,000 residents and one congressional seat. Texas picked up two seats, along with 4 million new residents, and many were surprised it wasn’t three seats. Florida added one seat. Nobody else in the SEC region gained or lost a seat.

1 Like

Disappointing that the State of Arkansas continues to lose ground in comparison vs states in the rest of the nation in terms of economy, opportunities, & population.

When I left Texas to go to college at UofA in the late 70s, Little Rock & Austin were comparable cities in population & amenities. In 1980 Austin had 383K population & now has over 2 million residents while LR/NLR grew from 224K in 1980 to only 260K today. Most of my UofA college classmates, whether from Arkansas or elsewhere, are now living & working outside of Arkansas.

Hopefully Arkansas can somehow find ways to attract new industry, outside investment, & money to revitalize the state economy & to grow the wealth, education, & employment opportunities.

3 Likes

I think NWA continues to grow and the central Arkansas cluster is growing, but outside the city limits of LR/NLR. But south and east Arkansas are hurting, so that offsets some of the urban/suburban growth.

1 Like

Some people don’t want to live in a concrete jungle, we’re growing fine for my tastes. The rural Delta is shrinking, but there really isn’t much you can do about that. Most farmers these days get their help through visas from S.A, Romania, and other countries, nobody wants to work.

1 Like

Weeds grow faster and more plentiful in Texas, especially, in Austin… I’m guessing that has always been the case. :slight_smile:

Well understand the concrete jungle. Left Houston in '99 for DFW for that reason plus to escape the flooding, pollution, crime, weather, overcrowding, etc. Hope to someday leave DFW for NWA to escape the crowd & TX.

However, just because LR & NWA grow quickly does not mean there aren’t other rural options in AR. LR & much of Arkansas (except NWA) are in a steady decline - including crime, education, infrastructure, & quality of life. UofA grads need to look elsewhere for quality jobs since Arkansas has little to offer. Cities like Nashville are growing & thriving without damaging their quality of life. LR/NLR should be able to do the same & with the surrounding towns & communities feeding off of the wealth & success.

My daughter, son-in-law, and 3 grandsons live in the White Rock Lake part of Dallas and love it there. I have been impressed with the lake, parks, Arboreteum, etc. quality of life there and it changed my assumptions about Dallas, but I have no interest in living there with them and the millions of others packing in. I personally like the slower growth focused on quality rather than quantity. NWA has a leg up on the rest of the state with the UofA, climate, natural beauty, expanding industry, and generous support by the new wealth investing in quality of life advancements. But, central Arkansas is improving too. There is a new Arts Center under construction and there are urban advantages to go along with the urban disadvantages that NWA does not have. The River Market and South Main Street improvements are doing well despite the continued struggles with poverty and crime in other parts of Little Rock. The Mayor is trying to get our citizens to match the city tax rate of Fayetteville, Memphis, etc. and invest in the city to improve parks and recreation, improve crime prevention, and to address some of the causes of these urban problems. That could be a big step in the right direction if he succeeds. We have got to find a way to encourage the unemployed in the east and south to move out of the projects to parts of the state where unemployment is low. There are poor people fighting to travel 1500 miles to get into the USA to work and we can’t get our people to travel 150 miles to take those same jobs. That is the 800 pound gorilla in the corner that no one seems to want to face. JMVHO & I hope this is not getting too political. :slight_smile:

Aloha,

To my knowledge, there is no major industry base at central Arkansas. Don’t know how hard central Arkansas competes for business compared to Texas, the Carolinas, Tennessee, etc…
The growth of NWA remains impressive. Greatly admire how NWA has conducted its growth. Love the restaurants, hiking/bike trails, outdoor beauty, etc…As for the UA, it is exceptionally well managed and led.
Still keeping an eye on retiring to NWA.
GHG!

Just a slight clarification on population comparisons. Austin is not 2 million plus but the metropolitan statistical area is a little over 2.2 million people. Little Rock/North Little Rock metropolitan statistical area has a population of just under 750,000.

Austin pop. 979,000
Little Rock 197,318

Oh, I understand that grads, unless they are supply chain, tend to have to look out of state for good employment. Both of my two UofA grads are out of state, #1 is a research analyst for an investment banker in Chicago, and #2 graduates from SMU graduate school in two weeks and will be employed in Dallas. #3 if a freshman and doesn’t know his head from a hole in the ground, lol, but I figure he’ll go out of state with a Data Science degree. I lived in the delta, NEA, for 61 of my 62 years, except for college. I moved back to Fayetteville, we’ll, a little east towards Goshen, last summer as a retiree. Outside of Jonesboro, and the steel mills in MS county, there really isn’t any thing that if I owned a widget factory, I’d want it in the Delta.

The LR/NLR MSA has some manufacturing like Caterpillar, and aircraft manufacturing/finishing (Dassault Falcon- 1 mill ft2). But generally the central ark economy is more tied to hospitals/healthcare (10 hospitals+) education, finance (Bank OZK, Home/Centennial, Simmons, Stephens Inc. etc), distribution, state gov, and information services. Central Arkansas is steadily growing and improving.

1 Like

I’ve never understood LRs lack of growth. Industry-wise, there is rail, two interstates, air and water transportation. Not many cities can boast of this potential.

LR is beautiful and is forward thinking in growth—most notably in large industrial areas and road layout. LR/NLR have educational opportunity and superb park systems—lots of close by golf and water sports available.

Little Rock suffered from the school lawsuit that began in the 1980’s that led to a huge exodus toward Conway, Benton-Bryant, & Cabot. The metro area is doing reasonably well, but the city of LR is landlocked to the north. Its growth has been toward the west, but the overall population has remained pretty stagnant. Downtown has become revitalized & continues to do well. I’m not sure the widening of I-30 through downtown was a good idea. It might retard downtown growth.

I was born in Saline County and when I was in high school Saline contained both Alcoa and Reynolds in their height and the Saline County had the highest income per capita in Arkansas.

However, aluminum ore had been discovered in Jamacia and Africa and South America so both companies moved their production to lower salary countries. By the 60’s Little Rock’s flight allowed Conway, Bryant and Benton to grow a lot as people
fled LR. Then NWA took over and is now the front line for Arkansas.

I think eastern and southern Arkansas has suffered as the demand for Cotton etc. has fallen way off.

Frankly for Arkansas to grow in overall population, it needs many more good paying jobs.

1 Like

We have got to address poverty, not just add more jobs while running away from that poverty and the inherent crime that goes with it. I prefer a slow growing Arkansas that is increasing in quality a lot faster than it is increasing quantity in its people. Any part of Arkansas suddenly growing into another Dallas or Austin is not my idea of great progress. To me that creates as much bad as it does good for The Natural State. JMVHO

Referring back to my post above, and maybe neastarkie answered indirectly, but why, with rail, air, and interstate, couldn’t LR area compete well for all these automotive plants? Why wouldn’t they be well positioned for an Amazon hub?

If they are not bidding on these plants, are we talking about poor industrial leadership?

Little Rock could have given Fred Smith what he needed in 1971-72. Instead Fred took his idea and his company to Memphis. And now 30,000 people in the Memphis area work for Fred. A little outfit called FedEx.

Meanwhile Fred’s son Arthur has Bobby Petrino’s old job. Head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

2 Likes

Yeah. Poverty and lack of education is a big problem in the state. It’s especially a problem in the Delta. There was a time when dozens of people picked cotton and did all sorts of other farm work. Now huge tractors, combines, & cotton-pickers have substantially reduced the number of people necessary to run a farm. Sadly, too many of those people and their children have stayed and starved in places like rural Lee Co. Not enough hard industries have replaced farm work & those that have require better educated workers. The small businesses that used to serve larger populations of those workers have suffered, too. Places like Clarendon, Newport, & Augusta that were once booming river towns with strong farm communities have dried up. Some worse than others. Pine Bluff is a shadow of what it was even 30-40 years ago. Those along the interstate have fared somewhat better.

A few towns in Arkansas have prospered. Searcy has done well. Jonesboro-Paragould are booming. Of course we know how well the NW corner has done. Combination of having the UA, Wal-Mart, Tyson, Hunt & several other industries that have helped the area thrive.

Transportation (highways) aren’t too bad in the state. I-49 opening up from I-40 to MO has helped it. We needed & got XNA. The roads west toward Tulsa are good. 67-167 from LR nearly to MO has improved things in that part of the state. Now there’s a very good highway (4 lane) from LR to Lake Village. Seems to me we need to do more for education in the state, though. Probably wouldn’t hurt to consolidate some of these still tiny school districts.

I have heard that some of these plants we’ve lost to Alabama, TN, & Mississippi have complained that we don’t have enough workers with the skills they’re looking for. I don’t know if that’s true, but I’ve heard they’ve given that as a reason. Seems to me we could support something like one of those big auto factories like they have in some other southern states just as well as they do, but maybe we can’t. Lord knows we try to give them enough tax breaks.

Quick research shows we tried to land Toyota plants in 2003 and 2011 but they went to Texas and Mississippi respectively.