News Release

Reports Show Population Growing At Slower Pace

Jul 12, 2006

The region’s population and job growth is continuing to climb, albeit at a somewhat slower pace than in previous years, according to a report released by the COG Board of Directors during its July meeting.

Economic Trends in Metropolitan Washington, 2001-2005 reports that the metropolitan region grew by more than 312,600 people and added more than 119,000 jobs between 2001 and 2005. Those increases were slightly lower than the previous five-year period studied, when the region saw 351,800 new residents and 124,738 new jobs.

The majority of the region’s residents live in the inner suburbs, like Montgomery, Prince George’s and Fairfax Counties. Despite rapid growth in the region’s outer suburbs such as Loudoun County, which experienced a 30.7 percent population increase during the period studied, COG’s forecasts show the inner suburbs will contain 53 percent of the 6.6 million residents projected for 2030. Similarly, more than 50 percent of the region’s 1.4 million existing jobs remain in the inner suburbs, even though 53 percent of total job growth between 2001 and 2005 occurred within the outer suburbs.

“The rapid growth that is occurring in outer suburbs, as well as the continued strength of the region’s inner core, reflect tremendous economic health,” said COG Executive Director Dave Robertson. “But the consequences of this growth—worsening traffic congestion, higher housing prices—remind us of the fundamental need for sound, sustainable development.”

In the regional housing and development landscape, meanwhile, home sales jumped dramatically, from 86,966 units in 2001 to 106,920 units in 2005, while the number of new housing units approved for development decreased from 34,646 in 2004 to 32,849 in 2005.

Commercial Construction Indicators 2005 Annual Summary, also released today, reveals that the region’s level of new business-related construction decreased by more than 3 million square feet – or 12 percent -- between 2004 and 2005. Still, the 24.4 million square feet of space added by 430 new projects in 2005 comprises the metropolitan area’s eleventh largest rate of commercial growth in 25 years. For the first time, suburban Maryland led the region in commercial construction in 2005, adding 161 new projects totaling nearly 10.6 million square feet.

The report also revealed that the civilian labor force in the metropolitan Washington area increased by 175,700 people between 2001 and 2005, while a total of $69.6 billion in retail sales in 2005 remained virtually unchanged from the $72.1 billion total in 2004.

COG publishes the five-year analysis of the region’s economy each year to provide information on the region’s population, employment, construction, retail sales, inflation, mortgage rates, and number of passengers served by the area’s major airports. Commercial construction is analyzed annually by COG to provide information on the number, location, structure type, size, and estimated costs of new commercial development projects.

Download the Economic Trends and Commercial Construction reports.

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