The foundation on which Memphis 3.0, the first comprehensive plan for the city in more than 40 years, is built is data.
The following are some data points from the plan that we found interesting:
* Memphis’ population is projected to increase 10% by 2040, representing the largest increase since 1960. Household growth is projected 0.4% per year for the County, with Memphis’ share of that equating to about 72% and it could increase to 74% by 2040. On average, that is about 1,300 new households per year in the city between now and 2040.
* Although there are a lot of young people in Memphis, nearly 70% of all households have no children under the age of 18 present.
* Zimmerman Volk & Associates estimates that 52,000 households, or one-fifth, move throughout the City annually, representing significant churn within the market.
* The population of Memphis is aging. Nearly 23% are 55 and older, approaching and at retirement age. As we near the plan horizon (2040), individuals age 35 and older will also begin to shift towards retirement age.
* Between 2000 and 2015, the number of Memphians with less than a high school degree decreased by 28%, while those with a bachelor’s degree or higher increased by 21%. Despite the gains in educational attainment, Memphis still had a relatively smaller number of college-educated workers compared to the U.S. in 2015 and lower wages relative to national wages. Of the top 20 occupations in the Memphis region fewer than half paid a median wage of $30,000 or higher in 2016.
* About 60% of all housing within the city is single-family detached housing. The city’s zoning and segregated uses has put more burden on the average resident attempting to conduct his or her day-to-day business. According to the 2015 5-year American Community Services (ACS) estimates, on average it takes a Memphian 22 minutes to travel to work, putting more of a financial and quality of life burden on individuals. For those that use public transit, most have a commute of 60 minutes or more.
* Over 52% of the city’s housing stock (this includes single family and multi-family residences) was built before 1969.
* Research shows a correlation between aging housing stock and energy burden. Individuals who live in areas with homes built in the 1950s and earlier face higher energy burdens, or pay more for utilities and water usage, than others in the City. A report released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found that Memphis households pay 6% of their annual income on energy costs, higher than any major city in the nation. In lower income communities, average energy costs equate to 13% of annual income.
* Most unoccupied buildings of various uses (residential, commercial, and industrial) throughout the City are suffering from structural issues and deferred maintenance further contributing to the overwhelming number of vacant and blighted structures. A vacancy rate of 16% for housing units, 10% for other uses (office, industrial, and retail space) and 56 square miles of vacant land has left the City with areas with weak housing markets and low demand. Blight comes not only in the form of unoccupied, unmaintained structures, it can include vacant lots, high weeds and grass, substantial amounts of trash scattered in a neighborhood or illegal dumping. In the fall of 2016, it was reported that 48,452 parcels (about 13%) in the City have an indicator of blight present.
Join us at the Smart City Memphis Facebook page for daily articles, reports, and commentaries relevant to Memphis.