Despite economic downturn, Raleigh keeps growing

March 27, 2013 

Well, it did seem a little more crowded last time out to the grocery store. And yes, there were more baby carriages around.

A Forbes survey clears all that up. It seems that the Raleigh metropolitan area has been the country’s fastest-growing since 2000, an expansion of 47.8 percent. And, the child population has expanded by 45 percent.

Despite the still-lingering national economic downturn, it’s clear that the Raleigh area remains a draw.

And then there’s this: Recent population estimates released by the U.S. Census found the metropolitan area of the Triangle was the 13th fastest-growing region in the country over a 27-month period ending last July.

Growth is good. But these numbers should sound a warning to area leaders. While it’s true that increased population will build a stronger residential and business tax base, there also will be additional demands on public services, first among them schools. While new residents do pay for services, the revenue from property taxes and other fees typically does not cover the entire cost of having that new family in the neighborhood.

The upcoming Wake County school bond thus becomes all the more important, as does the push to get county commissioners off the dime on a transit tax option and long-term planning for getting people around the area without cars. The pressure is on to stay ahead of the curve instead of lagging behind it. Bold leadership is more important than ever before.

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