U.S. Census Bureau statistics and estimates make it possible to predict when Northwest Arkansas will welcome its 500,000th resident.
The best guess — and no one knows for sure — is late summer, probably mid-August.
The region gains about 23 people a day, and it’s possible to break that number down and measure which Northwest Arkansas counties and cities are adding those residents.
To do it, the Northwest Arkansas Council took the Census Bureau population of April 1, 2010 and the bureau’s population estimate of July 1, 2012 and divided it by the 822 days between those dates to determine a growth rate. That’s the basis for the 23 people a day.
Then we looked at growth rates in Northwest Arkansas communities and assumed that growth rate is what happens on a typical day in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area. This chart shows the distribution of where new residents lived, but here’s what else we determined, using the U.S, Census Bureau data:
- Benton County can claim 13 of the 23 residents that were added each day in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers MSA. The other 10 chose to live in Washington County.
- Fifteen of the 23 people added each day chose to reside in one of the region’s four largest cities: Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers or Bentonville.
- Springdale was the region’s fastest-growing city from 2010 to 2012, adding 4.046 people a day. That was a bit faster than the largest city (Fayetteville adds 4.038 people a day).
- Although Rogers is the larger city, Bentonville (3.62) added more people than its neighbor to the east (Rogers adds 3.57).
- Bella Vista adds one resident each day.
- Centerton and Siloam Springs each add four residents about every five days.
- Cave Springs adds about two residents each week.
- Thirty-four of the 38 cities and towns in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers MSA are adding to their populations.
In March, the U.S. Census Bureau will release its population estimate for July 1, 2013. That new data will show whether the fast-growth rate of 2010 to 2012 continued into 2013.