Fleet Management

Freight To Grow In Five Regions

January 11, 2000

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Population shifts are expected to lead to growth in freight movement in five regions of the country.

Estimates recently released by the Census Bureau show population continues to shift west and south and from rural to urban areas. Population grew 1.5% in the West, 1.2% in the South, 0.5% in the Midwest and 0.3% in the Northeast.
Population change in any region includes immigration from other countries, people moving in and out of the region within the U.S., and the natural increase (births minus deaths). The composition of the population change will affect freight volume, mix and lanes.
Domestic immigrants (people moving within the U.S.) typically move for a job and have above average income and goods consumption. Several regions have negative net domestic immigration: More people moved out to another state than moved in from another state. Every state in the old industrial belt from New York to Illinois is a net loser. Other losing regions are the Plains states just west of the Mississippi, California (mostly southern California), the Mississippi delta, and three isolated states without any of the new growth industries: New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska. In New England, net domestic immigrations gains in the three northern states offset small losses in the three southern industrial states.
Where is everybody going? Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada are the main destinations.

Although many are initially desperately poor, foreign immigrants have above average per capita goods consumption within a few years because they are relatively young with few dependents. Foreign immigrants, now 35% of annual population growth, cluster in large urban centers and along the southern border. Over 70% of the 852,000 immigrants last year settled in six states: New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, Florida and California.
A high ratio of births to deaths indicates a relatively young population, which will spend proportionately more on goods rather than services. The ratio of births to deaths is 2.18 in the West, 1.65 in the South (1.75 excluding Florida), 1.54 in the Midwest and 1.44 in the Northeast. It ranges from a low of 1.07 in West Virginia to a high of 3.45 in Utah.
In-bound freight volume is expected to grow most in the five regions with rapid population growth plus superior attractiveness to high-consuming immigrants and a relatively young high consuming population:
1. The Rocky mountains: Arizona, Nevada and Colorado plus Utah where the high birth rates offsets modest domestic outmigration.
2. The Pacific coast: Oregon, Washington plus California where the huge foreign immigration offsets the modest domestic outmigration.
3. The Southeast: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia plus Florida where high immigration offsets the low rate of natural increase.
4. Texas
5. Minnesota.

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