Census data shows US population growth in warmer climates
“I’m starting to really hate the cold,” my wife said, and it wasn’t the first time. The kind of thing Midwesterners say after spring has spent a few delightful days in our sights — 60, 65, even 70 degrees — then slaps us roughly in the face with a wet sock from miserable, damp, dank days. a penetrating cold. It was 21 degrees Monday morning.
“Me too,” I mumbled.
COVID-19 seems to have unmoored everyone, in more ways than one. Time expands and contracts like clocks in a Dali painting. Civility is collapsing. Sanity becomes a murderous whiplash through the gauntlet of speculation, conspiracy theory and outright hallucination of our neighbors.
We are battered, weary, watching the breaking news through our crossed fingers. We have also become uprooted, many of us. The Americans are on the move, fleeing the frost, looking for a warm rock to hide under. A US Census Bureau report released last week shows that nine of the 10 fastest growing US counties are in Arizona, Texas and Florida, where four of the 10 fastest growing metropolitan areas are located. faster.
Yet, like everything else, it’s a blurry picture. Cities in all climates are losing people — Los Angeles County tops the list of declining metropolitan areas in raw numbers, with a decline of 184,465 residents from July 2020 to July 2021. (New County’s population York fell 6.9% year-on-year.) Metro Chicago is down 106,897; the Census Bureau describes the metropolitan area as “Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI” (and readers give me heartache of living in Northbrook; demographically, I practically share a $10 a month apartment on Wabansia with Nelson Algren).
However, if you’re looking for something positive, Cook County remains the second largest county in the United States, with 5.1 million people, behind Los Angeles County alone. (Both benefit from a historical quirk – New York’s five boroughs are five separate counties).
The population is decreasing everywhere — nearly three-quarters of US counties, 73%, are in decline. “Natural decline occurs when there are more deaths than births in a population over a given period,” the Census Bureau points out. “In 2021, declining births, aging populations and rising mortality – intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic – have contributed to an increase in natural decline.”
Until this death happens, if you can work from anywhere, why not somewhere warm? A couple from the neighborhood moved to Florida in November. He is a lawyer. Nobody cares whether his brief is filed from Northbrook or North Miami.
For the first time, I squinted and tried to imagine what a retirement in Florida might be like. Not one of those sprawling senior golf and cocktail utopias – The Villages, Latitude Margaritaville. I don’t play golf, I don’t drink, and I didn’t like fraternity parties when I was in college. I don’t plan on going to live in one.
No, it would have to be a coastal location, maybe Longboat Key. The setting sun rivets a blazing red over the Gulf of Mexico. Head down, hands stuck in pockets, wading along the debris-strewn waves in my ripped cargo shorts, glancing at Bob Greene in the distance, scanning his metal detector over the wet sand…
Never. I do not even have visited Florida in… more than a dozen years. A former colleague told me last week that she was moving there – came down for a wedding, the heat seemed better for her various ailments, and now she’s keen on salubrious Southland.
“You know, the place is full of Floridians,” I warn, thinking of the Florida Man trope. You know, the internet meme where a Sunshine State Everyman is immortalized after meeting a low-end fate: run over by a bulldozer while using a port-a-potty, or dying when his car collides with an alligator from 11 feet long, or after competing in a cockroach-eating contest.
We can’t move to Florida. I planted about ten trees in my garden last fall. I am emotionally invested in seeing these trees grow. We have also just installed a new bathroom. Almost. The entrepreneur approaches completion in classic Zeno paradox fashion, where each day halves the distance to the never quite reached finish line. Plus, I have this habit of writing columns that I haven’t been able to quit, and my boss wouldn’t be happy with too many Longboat Key dates.
Also, warm weather is coming to Chicago. It’s it’s it’s. It will be here soon. I promise. Around mid-April, surely. OK, May, at the latest. Mid-May, anyway. I’m almost certain.