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Census numbers showed 2016 was step in right direction

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Census numbers showed 2016 was step in right direction

For data crunchers, the best thing about a New Year is a whole bunch of new data. The king of all data sites of course is Census.gov and when the calendar turns to 2018 we’ll be waiting eagerly for the American Community Survey data.

When Transform Rockford was launched in November 2013 with the goal of making Rockford one of the top 25 communities in the United States by 2025, it was understood that it was going to take time. Rockford’s issues in many cases took decades to develop.

In today’s 24/7 news cycle, the sensational headlines are many and it can be hard to see progress. Census numbers show the long-term trends. In 2010, the Census began surveying communities yearly to release annual numbers. Here are some of the more important numbers:

Population

Year

Rockford

Pct. Ch.

Illinois

Pct. Ch.

U.S.

Pct. Ch.

2010

154,517

12.75M

303.97M

2011

153,509

-0.7%

12.79M

0.4%

306.60M

0.9%

2012

152,948

-0.4%

12.82M

0.3%

309.13M

0.8%

2013

152,138

-0.5%

12.85M

0.2%

311.54M

0.8%

2014

151,290

-0.6%

12.87M

0.2%

314.11M

0.8%

2015

148,278

-2.0%

12.87M

0.0%

316.52M

0.8%

2016

147,651

-0.4%

12.85M

-0.2%

318.56M

0.6%

Obviously, a shrinking population is not a positive sign. Companies will be reluctant to relocate businesses or open locations in areas that aren’t growing.

Pct. of 25-year-olds
with bachelor’s degree

Year

Rockford

Pct. Ch.

Illinois

Pct. Ch.

U.S.

Pct. Ch.

2010

20.6%

30.3%

27.9%

2011

21.1%

2.4%

30.7%

1.3%

28.2%

1.1%

2012

20.7%

-1.9%

31.1%

1.3%

28.5%

1.1%

2013

20.8%

0.5%

31.4%

1.0%

28.8%

1.1%

2014

21.0%

1.0%

31.9%

1.6%

29.3%

1.7%

2015

21.0%

0.0%

32.3%

1.3%

30.4%

3.8%

2016

21.6%

2.9%

32.9%

1.9%

30.3%

-0.3%

Rockford remains one of the largest cities in the United States that doesn’t have a large, public, four-year college or university. For decades, talented students have gone away for college and many don’t return. There have been efforts to stitch together options for students to finish college in Rockford, but as these numbers show the education level of the U.S. as a whole continues to outpace Rockford.

Percent of
vacant housing units

Year

Rockford

Pct. Ch.

Illinois

Pct. Ch.

U.S.

Pct. Ch.

2010

13.0%

9.4%

12.2%

2011

12.5%

-3.8%

9.7%

3.2%

12.4%

1.6%

2012

12.3%

-1.6%

9.8%

1.0%

12.5%

0.8%

2013

12.2%

-0.8%

9.8%

0.0%

12.5%

0.0%

2014

12.1%

-0.8%

9.8%

0.0%

12.5%

0.0%

2015

11.7%

-3.3%

9.8%

0.0%

12.3%

-1.6%

2016

11.2%

-4.3%

9.6%

-2.0%

12.2%

-0.8%

Rockford is making steady progress in clearing out its vacant housing. This is one of the most positive signs of the Census data.

Percent working
in manufacturing

Year

Rockford

Pct. Ch.

Illinois

Pct. Ch.

U.S.

Pct. Ch.

2010

20.4%

13.0%

11.0%

2011

20.5%

0.5%

12.8%

-1.5%

10.8%

-1.8%

2012

20.3%

-1.0%

12.7%

-0.8%

10.6%

-1.9%

2013

20.6%

1.5%

12.6%

-0.8%

10.5%

-0.9%

2014

20.8%

1.0%

12.5%

-0.8%

10.4%

-1.0%

2015

21.1%

1.4%

12.6%

0.8%

10.4%

0.0%

2016

21.3%

0.9%

12.4%

-1.6%

10.3%

-1.0%

After years of focusing on diversifying the economy, leaders have put more emphasis on retaining and bringing back manufacturing to Rockford. These numbers show its been effective. While the percentage of people working in manufacturing continues to decline this decade, it’s increased five of the past six years.

Median
household income

Year

Rockford

Pct. Ch.

Illinois

Pct. Ch.

U.S.

Pct. Ch.

2010

$38,573

$55,735

$51,914

2011

$38,864

0.8%

$56,576

1.5%

$52,762

1.6%

2012

$38,157

-1.8%

$56,853

0.5%

$53,046

0.5%

2013

$38,067

-0.2%

$56,797

-0.1%

$53,146

0.0%

2014

$38,231

0.4%

$57,166

0.6%

$53,482

0.8%

2015

$38,716

1.3%

$57,574

0.7%

$53,889

0.8%

2016

$40,143

3.7%

$59,196

2.8%

$55,322

2.7%

The recovery from the Great Recession was painfully slow in Rockford, as the 2012 and 2013 figures show. The 2015 and 2016 numbers though show that economic efforts in the early part of the decade finally started to take root.

These data sets are just a snapshot. Taken together though and they showed that 2016 appeared to be a large step in the right direction of Transforming Rockford.

 

 


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