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To the Editors of American Demographics:

Do you have any information regarding America's fastest-growing metros?

Janie French

The Staubach Company

Addison, Texas

Dear Janie:

In one of the hundreds of recent data releases from Census 2000 is a list of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States between April 1, 1990 and April 1, 2000. Las Vegas secured the top spot on that list by increasing its population by 83.3 percent (710,545 people) in the past decade. Of the top 10 fastest-growing metros, all are located in the West or the South (see chart, above).

Of course, many cities not on the list of fastest growers have also added significantly to their rosters. In fact, the population of the greater metro area of New York City, which now spreads over parts of four states (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania), increased by almost 1.7 million between 1990 and 2000. Los Angeles welcomed even more new residents: over 1.8 million, to be exact. To put all of this in perspective, the current population of Las Vegas is just 1.6 million, a mere village compared with the New York and Los Angeles metro areas, which now have 21 million and 16 million people, respectively.


To the Editors of American Demographics:

I'm interested in demographic information about the people who stay out at bars late at night. Is there any known link between a city's mandated closing time for bars and the number of tourists who visit there annually?

David Lord

Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau

Lexington, Ky.

Dear David:

After placing calls to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the Beverage Marketing Corporation, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, the American Liquor License Exchange and the National Restaurant Association — not to mention numerous industry marketing firms and bar owners — we came up with very few hard facts while trying to identify just who makes up the late-night bar crowd.

Fortunately, all hope is not lost. There is one study conducted by New York City-based Simmons Market Research that provides a limited glimpse into this late-night scene. According to the survey, which asked 21,000 adults to report their whereabouts for a 24-hour period, just 1 in 100 Americans (1.14 percent) are at either a restaurant, bar, pub or café at any time between 12 a.m. and 3:59 a.m.

As anyone who has ever been to a drinking establishment until “last call� can tell you, young adults in their 20s do indeed account for more than their fair share of seats at the bar. According to the Simmons study, adults ages 21 to 29 are more than twice as likely as the average adult to be hanging around watering holes late at night. Interestingly, adults ages 18 to 20 (who are not yet of legal drinking age) are also more likely to be at restaurants, bars or pubs in the wee hours. But to assume that such youngsters overwhelmingly dominate bars after midnight would be wrong. Fully 61 percent of those who are out between midnight and 4 a.m. are age 30 or older. Of the 30-plus set, 48 percent are between 30 and 44, and 45 percent are 45 or older.

Of course, we've all heard stories about — or experienced firsthand — the late-night adventures of businesspeople attending out-of-town conventions. (There's a reason New Orleans and Las Vegas are two of the biggest convention sites in the nation.) And while there is no data to provide proof, it's quite likely that those bellying up to the bar are older than usual when a large convention or trade show is in town.

As for a connection between closing time and tourism, we found no link. Actually, some of the most popular tourist destinations in the country have among the earliest bar closing times of all major cities. Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Detroit bar owners, for example, are required by law to stop serving alcohol as early as 2 a.m. Meanwhile, barhoppers in New York City are free to legally imbibe until 4 a.m., and bars in New Orleans are allowed to serve booze around the clock. Visitors to such cities may have a blast all night long, but their mornings are likely to be downright hellish.


Fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the U.S. between 1990 and 2000.

Las Vegas, NV-AZ 852,737 1,563,282 710,545 83.3%
Naples, FL 152,099 251,377 99,278 65.3%
Yuma, AZ 106,895 160,026 53,131 49.7%
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 383,545 569,463 185,918 48.5%
Austin-San Marcos, TX 846,227 1,249,763 403,536 47.7%
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR 210,908 311,121 100,213 47.5%
Boise City, ID 295,851 432,345 136,494 46.1%
Phoenix-Mesa, AZ 2,238,480 3,251,876 1,013,396 45.3%
Laredo, TX 133,239 193,117 59,878 44.9%
Provo-Orem, UT 263,590 368,536 104,946 39.8%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau


Metros with populations of 5 million or more may have grown more slowly than the nation as a whole, but many of these areas welcomed over half a million new residents to town in the past decade.

Total for metropolitan areas of 5 million or more 75,874,152 84,064,274 8,190,122 10.8%
New York-Long Island-Northern New Jersey, NY-NJ-CT-PA 19,549,649 21,199,865 1,650,216 8.4%
Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County, CA 14,531,529 16,373,645 1,842,116 12.7%
Chicago-Gary-Kenosha, IL-IN-WI 8,239,820 9,157,540 917,720 11.1%
Washington-Baltimore, DC-MD-VA-WV 6,727,050 7,608,070 881,020 13.1%
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA 6,253,311 7,039,362 786,051 12.6%
Philadelphia-Atlantic City-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 5,892,937 6,188,463 295,526 5.0%
Boston-Worcester-Lawrence, MA-NH-ME-CT 5,455,403 5,819,100 363,697 6.7%
Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint, MI 5,187,171 5,456,428 269,257 5.2%
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX 4,037,282 5,221,801 1,184,519 29.3%
Source: U.S. Census Bureau


Overwhelmingly, Americans are safe at home late at night. Where are you between 12 a.m. and 3:59 a.m.?

Home 94%
Someone else's home 4%
Traveling 6%
Work 4%
School 1%
Restaurant, bar, pub or café 1%
Shopping 1%
Elsewhere 3%
Note: Total does not sum to 100 percent because multiple answers were allowed.
Source: Simmons Market Research


Big convention cities — like Las Vegas, New Orleans and New York City — also have some of the nation's latest bar closing times. Coincidence?

Las Vegas None (can serve 24 hours a day)
Chicago 5 a.m.*
New Orleans None (can serve 24 hours a day)
New York City 4 a.m.
Orlando 3 a.m.
Atlanta 3 a.m.
Anaheim 2 a.m.
Dallas 2 a.m.
San Francisco 2 a.m.
Los Angeles 2 a.m.
*Chicago bars with a supplemental license may serve alcohol on Saturday night until 5 a.m. Sunday morning. Other nights of the week, they must stop serving at 4 a.m.
Source: American Demographics research and Tradeshow Week's Trade Show 200, 28th Annual Edition, April 2002


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