How GDP and Population Growth Go Hand in Hand

Posted by Sam Lowder on Jan 29, 2018 5:00:00 AM

Show Low, AZ

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you probably know this about the team here at SiteSeer:

We’re all about the data.

Data is your friend when running a business—it helps you make smart, strategic moves and mitigate risks. And when it comes to site selection, data can help you narrow your initial target list of locations, improve your chances for success, and make intelligent decisions. Bigger picture, data can also help you take note of interesting trends in a trade area or market that could impact your restaurant or store.

Lately, we’ve been sharing some interesting insights like fast-growing micropolitan areas in the U.S.—statistics collected from some of SiteSeer’s data providers. This is a glimpse into the type of information SiteSeer can offer. Our platform allows you to create custom reports and models that answer your most pressing business issues, whatever those might be.

Since we’ve been talking about fast-growing markets, we thought we’d delve into this topic even further and answer this question: When a city or area experiences significant growth, what is the impact on its economy?

As a refresher, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all final goods and services produced in a period of time. It’s commonly used as an indicator of the health of a country’s economy. In this case, of course, we’re talking about the GDP of a micropolitan area, not a country.

Here is a look at the GDP (as per STI: PopStats) of the top 16 large micropolitan areas, comparing October 2015 to October 2017:

Top 16 Large Micropolitan Markets*

GDP Per Capita Growth Rank

GDP Growth Per Capita**

GDP Per Capita


2017 Population

Gallup, NM (#1) 1 5.3% $32.08 $2,481,163 77,353
Show Low, AZ (#14) 2 4.0% $30.90 $4,478,916 144,947
Athens, OH (#16) 3 3.7% $37.41 $2,527,581 67,568
Cedar City, UT (#3) 4 3.5% $34.53 $1,785,309 51,700
Rio Grande City, TX (#7) 5 3.3% $25.90 $1,749,791 67,552
Starkville, MS (#15) 6 3.2% $33.09 $1,666,062 50,356
Eagle Pass, TX (#5) 7 3.1% $32.04 $1,902,217 59,372
Edwards, CO (#4) 8 3.1% $72.53 $4,148,869 57,206
Jefferson, GA (#6) 9 3.0% $47.75 $3,174,204 66,481
Oxford, MS (#13) 10 2.6% $39.21 $2,172,338 55,400
Durango, CO (#11) 11 2.4% $58.63 $3,268,011 55,736
Twin Falls, ID (#10) 12 2.2% $39.94 $4,293,906 107,515
Helena, MT (#9) 13 1.0% $44.61 $3,653,924 81,910
Bozeman, MT (#2) 14 0.6% $48.33 $5,250,518 108,642
Carlsbad-Artesia, NM (#8) 15 -0.1% $65.37 $3,810,327 58,286
Minot, ND (#12) 16 -0.4% $65.71 $5,111,010 77,782

*Rank in Population Growth

** Annual change, Oct 2015 - Oct 2017

It’s clear from the above that there is a high correlation with GDP and the income and strength of an economy/wealth of a market—as with Gallup, which is #1 both in population growth and GDP. Picture a small town that suddenly experiences an oil boom (as with #12: Minot, North Dakota on our list). It’s logical to assume that spike in industry growth would lead to increased population and more jobs in the market.

However, population growth doesn’t always translate into GDP growth. Take Helena and Bozeman, MT, for example. Both had population growth, but not high GDP growth. Perhaps this indicates people moving to the area for a lifestyle change, such as retirement or to enjoy the outdoors, not necessarily for a high-paying job. Also, things can change quickly. People might move to an area in hopes of great opportunity only to discover low-paying jobs. That might result in a larger pool of people who don’t grow the area’s economy. In the case of Minot, which experienced a “boom” just a few years ago, things quickly took a downturn in the oil market. This drove a drop in population, and as a result, GDP as well.

Bottom line: when considering expanding into a new market, it’s important to analyze that area from more than one angle. Data might tell a story, but there’s always an anecdotal side too. Need help? Schedule a SiteSeer demo today to learn more about how our robust platform can help you make more intelligent, data-driven decisions.

Have an idea for our next study? Email us at Data sourced from STI: PopStats


Topics: Data Study, Population Study, Demographic Data