I’ve mentioned this statistic in casual conversation several times in the last few months and encountered skeptical looks. Folks will respond that they know Raleigh is the “Smartest City in the US,” and the region tops other subjective metrics (best place for business, and many, many more.). But they are less aware that our hometown is experiencing faster raw population growth than any other metro location in the nation. See below for the report from the US Census Bureau. Through 2008 Raleigh-Cary was growing a full half-point faster than its closest rival, another capital city, Austin, Texas. Despite the recession, these trends are expected to continue.
Our region is therefore a fascinating context for operating a mitigation banking company. Because, in addition to its growth, North Carolina’s environment is also conscientiously and comprehensively regulated. For instance, our state 401 wetland permitting office has nearly 70 employees watching over impacts to waters and wetlands. By comparison, the notoriously fast growing state of Georgia has only a handful.
So, in the Tar Heel state the unstoppable force (population growth) is introducing itself to the immovable object (strict environmental regulation). The result? A lot of compensatory environmental mitigation. For instance, the Neuse River basin, our home watershed, has very strict riparian buffer and water quality regulations which — when not undermined by government fee programs — can demonstrate that growth need not come at the unmitigated expense of the environment when markets are used correctly. Bottom Line: We have established an excellent laboratory for the utilization and success of compensatory mitigation in the Triangle. Double Bottom Line: RS takes our responsibility as a participant in these government regulated markets very seriously.
US Census Bureau News Release THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2009
Raleigh and Austin are Fastest-Growing Metro Areas
Raleigh-Cary, N.C., and Austin-Round Rock, Texas, were the nation’s fastest-growing metro areas between 2007 and 2008, according to July 1, 2008, population estimates for the nation’s metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas and counties released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Raleigh-Cary saw its population climb 4.3 percent between July 1, 2007, and July 1, 2008, to 1.1 million. Similarly, Austin-Round Rock experienced a 3.8 percent increase, to 1.7 million. These two large metro areas were among 47 of the 50 fastest-growing areas located entirely in the South or West. (Table 1)
via US Census Press Releases.