Imagine Cary Age Graph

Where are the Millenials?

Cary, NC – On looking at the graph, the question popped into my mind. Scott Ramage, AICP, Principal Planner for the Town of Cary Planning Department was speaking at the monthly Economic Development Committee Meeting on May 1, 2013. We were getting a preview of the information developed for Imagine Cary.

The above graph bugged me. The 20-29 year old grouping was very low for Cary compared to the region. Why was Cary missing a generation? Is this something new or has it always been that way? Raleigh seemed to have the alternate trend as their 20-29 year old group was much larger than Cary.

Census Data

I went to the US census data to try to answer my question. There is a very useful tool on the site, Fact Finder, that lets you sift through the many, many census databases to come up with some information.

I pulled out data for 2000 and 2010 and below is the age distributions I found for Cary.

Cary Age Distribution 2000 vs 2010

The age range in 2000 of the current Millenial generation also has a drop off, so this does not look to be something new for Cary.  The graph seems to point out a decrease in the population of younger professionals and an increase in the older professionals and those who are most likely retired.

Why are the Age Ranges Different?

I know you will ask the question as to why the age ranges are different from the chart taken from Scott’s presentation and mine. The answer comes from the age ranges that are reported by the Census tables. For some reason, the age range reporting for the 2000 census is different than the 2010 census. The 2000 census reported many age ranges in split decades (ie. 35-44) so it was not possible to get the 2000 age ranges to match up to the 2010 age ranges. I was able to go in the reverse and get 2010 data to fit into the age ranges reported in the 2000 census data.

Wake and Raleigh

I also looked at the population change in Wake County and Raleigh for completeness.
Wake County Age Distribution 2000 vs 2010
Raleigh Age Distribution 2000 vs 2010

What Does This Mean?

I’m not sure. This is just one view of a huge amount of data that is available to us. The answers may be found with much more analysis. The Open Data movement will help as more data becomes available for civic hackers to chew on.

What do you think?

2 replies
  1. chad Foley
    chad Foley says:

    Very interesting visualizations. I wonder what impact college students have on the numbers.

  2. Michelle Muir
    Michelle Muir says:

    One important factor is the presence of several universities in Raleigh, several with post graduate programs. That skews the number in the age range up since those students are counted as residents.

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