Feature Article - June 2009
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REGIONAL TRENDS

A Look at Regional Trends


More Patrons, More Citizens

While the U.S. Census projects the South Central region to fall right in the middle in terms of projected growth between 2000 and 2020, with 19.4 percent of the total growth in U.S. population occurring there from 2000 and 2010 and 19.9 percent from 2010 to 2020, respondents from this region were the most likely to be expecting to see more users at their facilities. While 58.7 percent of respondents in this region said usage had grown from 2007 to 2008, 60.9 percent project increases in 2009 over 2008, and 66.7 percent project increases in 2010 over 2009. Notably, this is the only region that saw a growing number of respondents projecting increasing usage in 2009.

Second in line for growth projected by the U.S. Census, and for increasing usage projected by our respondents, was the South Atlantic region. From 2000 to 2010, the census projects 29.2 percent of population growth to take place in this region, while from 2010 to 2020 it will weigh even heavier, with 32.2 percent of growth occurring here. Respondents in this region were second most likely to see increasing usage in 2008, with 58 percent reporting an increase. Likewise, 54.4 percent expect an increase in 2009, and 58.9 percent expect an increase in 2010.

While the West dominates projected growth in U.S. population by the Census Bureau, our respondents from this region were more moderate in their expectations of increasing usage at their facilities. The census projects 32.6 percent of U.S. population growth to take place in this region from 2000 to 2010, and 35.2 percent from 2010 to 2020. While respondents in this region were the third most likely to report an increase in usage from 2007 to 2008 (and the least likely to report a decrease in that year), they are the least likely to expect an increase in 2009, and the most likely to expect a drop this year. Several of the states in this region have been particularly hard-hit by the economic downturn, with the housing market collapse particularly impacting Arizona and Nevada. Meanwhile, the state of California has been facing a budget crisis for several years now, and the economic downturn is only magnifying its impact on budgets for governmental entities across the state, including state-run universities.


The Midwest and Northeast are projected by the Census Bureau to see much slower rates of population increase, and respondents for these regions reflect this in being the most likely to expect decreasing usage for their facilities. Those in the Midwest were the most likely to report seeing a drop in usage in 2008, with 13.2 percent of respondents in this region reporting a decrease that year. Still, more than half reported an increase for the year. By 2010, it is those in the Northeast who are most likely to expect decreasing usage, though more than half still expect to see more users at their facilities. (See Figure 27.)