Lincoln makes list of high-growth areas in the U.S.

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Lincoln is on a list for being the fourth of nine notable high-growth areas in the United States. This is according to a recent study by the Gadberry Group, which is headquartered in Little Rock, Ark. and “provides location intelligence services and data for the world’s top retail brands,” according to the group. Lincoln’s households grew 250 percent between 2000 and 2009, “growing from 6,287 in 2000 to 21,997 households in 2008,” the Gadberry Group study said. Steve Art, the city of Lincoln’s economic and redevelopment manager, attributed the city’s recognition on the list because of the “obvious growth that occurred between 2002 and 2007.” Art said the largest portion of growth was “everything south of Auburn Ravine,” which includes Twelve Bridges, Lincoln Crossing and Sun City Lincoln Hills. Lincoln Hills celebrated its 10th anniversary this past September. So how did Lincoln make the list, when the economy is down? “It doesn’t deal with businesses opening and closing but with the income and population growth,” Art said. He also said Lincoln is No. Four for high-growth because of the city itself. “We’ve created a fantastic community and people want to move here,” Art said. “I think (Lincoln) is safe and has a small town feeling.” Art also attributed nearby amenities, such as shopping and dining, and Lincoln’s affordability as a place to live. Larry Martin, the Gadberry Group’s chief operating officer, told the News Messenger Friday that Lincoln is No. 1 on the list of nine when it comes to economic stability. He said 15 is an average for the economic stability index, and Lincoln’s rating was a 7.8, which is the best economic stability index on the list of nine. Lincoln also has the highest average household net worth of the nine, which equates to $593,668. Net worth is accumulated wealth, Martin explained. Lincoln’s mix of baby boomers in Sun City and young families that have made Lincoln their home plays a major factor in Lincoln’s notable high-growth, Martin said. This is because the retirees living in Lincoln Hills “have brought their wealth to Lincoln,” which Martin said is “evened out” by the young families, who have a higher income but more debt. Lincoln Mayor Tom Cosgrove said Lincoln’s presence on the list “sums up into a fiscal stability” and “speaks well” for residents who have moved into Lincoln. Cosgrove said one factor for Lincoln being a notable high-growth area was because those relocating here had stabilized incomes, allowing them to qualify for homes. “It’s an honor for our community to be on that list but we still as a city will be economically challenged in the coming years,” Cosgrove said. “Anticipating what the state is taking from us, it will be difficult for us to keep our heads above water and provide services.” The Gadberry Group study defines growth as the number of households in Lincoln in 2000 compared to 2009, as well as other “demographic variables,” according to Martin, such as ethnicity, household income, length of residence and age. Emerging census blocks were also looked at, and Martin said census blocks are not to be confused with city blocks, which are defined by four streets. “A census block is an area that the census bureau defines that contains a certain number of places,” Martin said. An emerging census block is defined as having less than 10 households in 2000 to more than 100 in 2009. Martin said a city would have to have at least four emerging census blocks to be on the list, which Lincoln has. The area the Gadberry Group calls Lincoln is bigger than city limits, because Martin said Lincoln is divided into block groups, and some blocks contain parts of surrounding cities, such as Rocklin and Roseville. Martin said Lincoln “probably has hundreds of blocks” and the blocks are defined by the Census bureau to determine how many census takers are needed based on population. As far as household growth for recent years, Martin said Lincoln had a growth of 10 percent growth for 2008, and 12 percent growth for 2009.