Friday, January 1, 2010

Queen City of the Ozarks transformed by numbers

The Springfield News Leader today had an interesting story about the changes wrought in the Queen City of the Ozarks over the past 10 years. (I guess the editors figure the decade ran from 2000-2009; I think the first decade of the 21st Century began in 2001 and ends 2010, for the first year was 1, not 0.)

Springfield and Branson, along with cities like Nixa, Ozark, Republic and others, have changed--"transformed," as the newspaper says--over the last 10 years.

It may be a year or more before results from the 2010 U.S. Census paint a final, by-the-numbers picture of the city's growth in the past decade. But census estimates through 2008 show the city added fewer than 5,000 residents in that time -- a 3 percent increase -- after starting the decade with a population of 151,580.

The scope of new construction may seem excessive considering that relatively meager increase. But much faster growth in areas surrounding the city proper has fueled demand for additional development.

Ozark's population, which was 9,665 in 2000, is on track to double by 2010, for example. Nixa's grew by 55 percent through 2008, contributing to a 39 percent growth rate in Christian County as a whole.

The Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which the Census Bureau defines as the counties of Greene, Christian, Webster, Dallas and Polk, grew by 16 percent through 2008, from about 368,000 people to more than 426,000.

Springfield has been a beneficiary of that growth.

The city's annual sales tax revenue totaled about $31.7 million when the decade began and reached a high of $40.4 million during the 2006/2007 fiscal year. Receipts during the fiscal year that ended in June totaled $38.3 million, a 21 percent increase for the decade .

City leaders estimate as much as half the money spent within city limits comes from those who call the surrounding area home.
This growth is why the Greene County Commission has already looked into the future and seen the demise of agriculture in that county.

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