Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mapping Kentucky's population challenges (not so much)

I'd summarize this map as showing that Kentucky is not straining as as much as other states to handle rapid population change. The larger original of this ENI map, showing a combined indicator of overall growth, young population, and minority population, is here. Comparing Kentucky's Census "microdata areas" to similar areas across the country:
  • In green, eleven areas are in the lowest need quarter of the nation, including big portions of eastern and western Kentucky, a southcentral region, central Lexington, and central and southwestern Jefferson County.
  • In yellow, twelve more areas are in the second lowest quarter.
  • In orange, the remaining seven areas are in the second highest quarter: those around Hopkinsville and Elizabethtown, the outer part of Fayette, a stretch north from there to Boone, and two portions of Jefferson.
  • In red, nothing: not a single area is in the quarter most challenged on this indicator.
Frankly, I don't think all that green signals good health. It shows regions with economic opportunity too limited to attract migrants, including some that losing people and jobs at a painful rate. I'd like to see all of Kentucky with the yellow-to-orange versions of moderate growth, even if red-hot expansion would be difficult.

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