Is Columbus a Super City?



Sunday’s Big Game matchup scores some surprising touchdowns

This Sunday all eyes will be on Super Bowl XLVI as the New York Giants battle the New England Patriots in Indianapolis.  New York, Boston, and Indianapolis are all super cities, but how about Columbus?  Comparing the four cities using U.S. Census Bureau data, Columbus shows some quick maneuverability to score some touchdowns against the other cities.

In terms of total population, New York has been victorious even longer than has a certain baseball team located there.  With more than 8 million residents, it is by far the nation’s largest city, but perhaps surprisingly, Indianapolis (12th largest) and Columbus (15th largest) both beat out 22nd-ranked Boston.  In fact, Columbus boasts nearly 170,000 more residents than does Boston.

In terms of population growth, though, there is no contest.  The population of Columbus increased 10.6 percent between 2000 and 2010, more than twice the growth rate of Boston and Indianapolis, five times the growth rate of New York, and greater than the growth of the U.S. as a whole.  Columbus rushes 60 yards to a touchdown.

Columbus also scores in the percentage of adults with at least a high school diploma – 88.4 percent.  But Boston scores in college degrees, with 44 percent of adults holding at least a bachelor’s, but Columbus beats out Indianapolis, 32 percent to 27 percent.  A priority for next year’s training camp is to work on conversions – of high school diplomas to college degrees.

Nimble Columbus also scores a touchdown in commute time.  The 21 minutes commuters in Columbus spend getting to and from work is a minute less each way than in Indianapolis, eight minutes less than in Boston, and nearly 18 minutes less than in New York.  Over a 245-day work year, Columbus commuters save 10 hours over Indianapolis commuters, 60 hours over Boston commuters, and 145 hours – six full days – over New York commuters.

Columbus and Indianapolis both trounce New York and Boston in homeownership, but Indianapolis edges out Columbus.  Affordability is what gives our two cities the edge.  It takes more than 10 years of the typical New York household’s income to buy the typical dwelling (which is almost certain to be an apartment or row house)  and seven years of income in Boston, but only a little more than three years

of income in Indianapolis and Columbus.  The 3.1 years in Indianapolis is not statistically different from the 3.3 years in Columbus – in other words, a split decision.

The odds-makers had New York demolishing the competition in retail sales per capita.  But in an amazing upset, Columbus comes out far ahead.  With more than $16,000 per person in 2007, we smash both New York and Boston, and edge out Indianapolis.

Put Columbus in some super company and we hold our own.  Enjoy the game!




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  • Contact

    Bill LaFayette, Ph.D.
    Regionomics LLC
    1293 South Fourth Street
    Columbus, OH 43206

    Phone: 614.443.3992
    Cell: 614.783.2492


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