Where the Babies Are

The Market Potential Landing in the Fly-Over States

By Published on .

There are a couple of holidays on the AdAgeStat calendar that might not be on yours just yet. GIS day is only 22 days away on Nov. 17. That's map geek Christmas, except for the lack of carols, presents, feasting, Santa, etc.

Last Wednesday was World Statistics Day. We celebrated with a data dump of consumer trend stats. And we spent a lot of time thinking about Utah.

Utah?

Where are the fastest growing metro areas? You'd guess California, Florida and Texas would have a lot. And you'd be right. But would you suspect that North and South Carolina and Utah would be next?

Here are some useful data points to consider when planning your expansion or your marketing plans. There's a lot of market potential landing in the fly-over states these days.

The following maps look at the change in population within large metro areas that gained at least 50,000 residents between 2000 and 2009.

2000-2009 Population change (actual)
2000-2009 Population change (actual)

2000-2009 Population change (percent)
2000-2009 Population change (percent)

You can see that even established metro areas like Chicago, Los Angeles and New York added a significant number of residents, but those changes accounted for a relatively small percent growth (in the 3%-5% range). Houston and Dallas added both people (more than 1 million a piece) and grew almost 25% in the period. But back to Utah: St. George, Provo and Heber all had greater than 40% population growth, ranking them as three of the top six fastest growth rates. In terms of actual growth, Salt Lake City and Provo are both in the top 35 out of more than 900 metro areas tracked by the Census Bureau. Those cities added as many people as areas with more expected rapid growth like Cape Coral, Fl., Tucson, and Jacksonville.

Florida, Arizona and Texas as well as places like Las Vegas grew due to the real estate boom and an aging population looking for better retirement climates. Utah's growth is to some degree driven by fertility.

According to Census data, 7.5% of all women of child-bearing age (defined as 15-50 in Census-speak) gave birth in 2008, ranking Utah as one of the most fertile states. In an index using the U.S. average of 5.8% as a baseline, Utah's rate is 132. At the metro area level, St. George leads all U.S. areas with an index of 224. All of the metro areas in Utah are above 100.

As the number of married households with children decreases nationwide, Utah again stands out with nearly 10% of all married women (age 15-50) giving birth in the previous year. St. George leads here, too, with an index of 263. Utah also leads in the small number of unmarried women giving birth. Nearly four in 10 babies are born to single mothers, but Utah's Provo, Logan, Odgen and Salt Lake City are all below the U.S. average for unwed women giving birth.

2009 State Fertility rates
2009 State Fertility rates

That's a lot of babies in Utah. Neighboring Wyoming and Idaho also have very high fertility rates.

Stats are fun and all, especially for the geeky among us. But as always, we ask, why should you care?

U.S. Babies 'R' Us locations
U.S. Babies 'R' Us locations

Say you're a major retailer of strollers, pack and plays, diapers, bouncers, excersaucers and all of those other accouterments that suddenly no baby can live without. Finding where the babies are is important, but so is the mix of married vs. unmarried mothers in terms of how you will reach your consumers, and what type of shopper are likely to set foot in your stores. Do you need products that appeal to dad, too? Certainly in some states, but perhaps less so in others. What we're saying, in this lull between geek Thanksgiving and geek Christmas, is that demographics matter and not just the biggies like age, gender, race and income.

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