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Forecasting 2020 U.S. County and MSA Populations

Working paper #572
Peter Linneman and Albert Saiz

Population growth at the county level can be predicted using widely available demographic and economic data. Past recent growth, the presence of immigrants, the fraction of population older than 25 and younger than 65, low taxes, and good weather are all positively associated with population growth. The authors’ forecasts reveal that most growth and real estate development will occur in the West, Sunbelt, and along the Southern I-85 route. However, many unexpected places will be winners or losers in the game of future local real estate development.

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