The purpose of the mind-numbing number crunching on this page is to show that Cary's current and future population growth is simply not "sustainable," in any sense of the word, and particularly not even in the anomalously-low single-year growth-rate announced for the year 2017. Disregarding ALL the other problems — social and environmental — resulting from runaway population-growth, the Town's roadways simply cannot handle the volume of traffic that the year-after-year increases will generate.
The pages on this site will suggest ways in which the Town can slow population growth – NOW – instead of kicking the can down the road and leaving the problem for future leaders and citizens.
The Cary Community Plan states throughout [in every Chapter] that one of its primary goals is to maintain the small-town flavor of the city. My goal as a council member will be to be true to that aspiration, and prevent this beautiful city from becoming one big rush-hour traffic jam, as Washington, D.C. and literally hundreds of other jurisdictions have become in their headlong races in pursuit of growth without first honestly and deliberately considering what the virtues of growth are. [If you disagree with this assertion, drive along I-40, or Chapel Hill Road, or Weston Boulevard, or any of a score of other roads in and around Cary that are NOW traffic nightmares during morning and evening rush hours, and which will only become worse, year by year, as the population inexorably increases. To see vividly the coming population growth, please watch this video.]
This table shows the population increase of the Town from its incorporation in 1871 to 2015. The population at inception is given [p. 50] by Thomas M. Byrd in his and Jerry Miller's book, Around and About Cary [Raleigh: Daniels Industries; 1970. 2nd ed., Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers, Inc.; 1994.]. The population totals from 1880 to 2010 are the United States Census Bureau official counts for those years. The population figure for 2015 is the Census Bureau's official estimate.
The Compound Annual Growth Rate column at far right shows the rate of growth from the decade listed above it. Thus, for example, the rate of growth per year from 2000 to 2010 was 3.34%. FWIW, the compound annual growth rate of the Town of Cary from inception to 2017 has been 4.92%.
|1871||+/- 150||Not applicable||Not applicable||Not applicable|
The Cary Community Plan's guidelines for the town's development are based on an assumption that Cary's population will increase to a mere 193,000 in the year 2040. If this were correct, the Compound Annual Growth Rate from now to then would be 0.76%.
It was announced that the 2016 population-growth-rate in Cary was less than 3%, and that that rate was sustainable.
It was announced that the 2017 population-growth-rate in Cary was 1.79%.
The Cary Community Plan states that the yearly growth rate "is expected to decline" [p. 82], but does not specify who it is that expects the growth rate to decline, by how much he or she expects it to decline, or for what reason or reasons the decline is expected.
The table below shows the Town of Cary's population based on estimates of (1) the Cary Community Plan, (2) the U.S. Census Bureau, and (3) the Town of Cary administration. Note that the Cary Community Plan's projections work toward its prediction of 193,000 in 2040. The increase from 159,769 in 2015 to 193,000 in 2040 yields a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 0.76%.
If we take the lower of the last two announced rates of population growth for the Town, and project it forward [right column of chart below], we see that the Cary Community Plan's prediction of 193,000 in the year 2040 will be surpassed twelve years early – in 2028 – and by 2040 there will be 241,214 people in the Town.
If we take the announced rate of population growth for the last five years [2.4% – published in the "Town of Cary FY 2019 2nd Quarter Report, p. 37], we see that the Cary Community Plan's prediction of 193,000 in the year 2040 will be surpassed 15 years early – in 2025 – and by 2040 there will be 276,742 people in the Town.
And as can be seen in the first chart [above], the Town of Cary has not experienced a sustained yearly growth-rate of less than 2.4% since the decade 1940 to 1950.
( CAGR of 0.76%)
|TOWN of CARY
CAGR of 1.79%
CAGR of 2.4%
|Not available||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|2011||Not applicable||Not available||Not available||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|2012||Not applicable||Not available||142,257||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|2013||Not applicable||Not available||144,981||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|2014||Not applicable||Not available||149,854||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|2015||159,769||159,769||153,865||Not applicable||Not applicable|
|2016||160,983||162,320||157,259||Not applicable||Not applicable|
(2010 to 2017)
The Rule of 70 may be used to determine how long it takes a population to double, given an increase expressed as a percentage. To use the Rule, divide 70 by the percentage. Example: Cary's growth rate from 2010 to 2017 [according to the U.S. Census Bureau] was 2.96%. Divide 70 by 2.96 = 23.6 years. Thus Cary's population will double in 23.6 years, and its 2010 population of 135,234 will double to 270,468 in mid-2033.
Using the growth rate announced in 2018 of 1.79%, Cary's population will double in 39 years, and thus the Town's population in 2057 will be 320,780 [if using the Town's population estimate], or 331,108 [using the U.S. Census Bureau's estimate].
Again, FWIW, the announced population increase of 2.4% for the last five years, stated another way, means that the Town's population increases by nine people per day, every day, seven days per week, 52 weeks of the year.