HomeNewsHousing study results projects population potential for next decade

Housing study results projects population potential for next decade

Younger & Associates and The Greater Jackson Chamber worked together late in 2022 to put together a housing study to project population growth and the upcoming needs that growth will cause.

“There are a number of different needs the region will have because of the growth, but this study looked specifically at housing,” said Sharon Younger, owner of the group that did the study.

According to population growth estimates done by the University of Tennessee, Madison County was already projected to grow by about 500 residents from 2025-2035.

“But the problem with those projections is they were made a few years ago before the Blue Oval City announcement was made [in September of 2021],” Younger said. “So we looked at the data of the growth that’s expected already and what similar moves by car manufacturers did to the regions where they located and how those populations grew in the years afterward and made projections.

“And I want to emphasize these are projections, and they’re the first projections we’ve seen anyone make for Madison County, so they could be lower or higher than reality proves them to be years from now.”

Blue Oval City and Madison County have a few things going for them that project positive growth. Highway access mainly with Interstate 40 and Highway 70, McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport and longstanding commute patterns.

“A lot of you I’m looking at right now are realtors, so you already know about what I’m about to tell you,” Younger said to the crowd of about 200 who were listening to her talk. “But when people are looking for a place to live, they want to be within 20 minutes of either their work or their kids’ school or something else that cuts down on how much time they’re in their car each day.

“And we took a look at the area that is within a 20-minute drive of Blue Oval City and 35 minutes.”

Blue Oval City is in Haywood County near Stanton, which is on the southwestern edge of the county near Tipton, Fayette and Shelby counties.

The western edge of Madison County and even a small part of Jackson close to the interstate are within that 35-minute commute region. That area, which is called the direct impact zone (DIZ), gets into eight counties of West Tennessee from Shelby to Madison.

Three other factors in location for new residents are the quality of public education, access to high-speed internet and housing availability.

Chamber President Kyle Spurgeon touted Jackson Energy Authority’s internet work in Madison County and the improving Jackson-Madison County Schools.

“The generation coming up including my own kids I don’t think realizes how good we have it here because of JEA and their internet infrastructure here,” Spurgeon said. “When my oldest son went off to college, he found out not everyone here has internet access like we do here.

“And our schools are improving, and as they continue to improve, they’ll continue to be more and more of an asset for us in recruiting people to Madison County.”

The bottom line about the availability factor is there isn’t enough housing available in Madison County – or in the DIZ – right now.

In Madison County, Younger’s team called rental property owners throughout the area to survey their availabilities, and the totals were nearly 3,400 spaces available in multi-family housing units like apartment complexes that are typically about 98% full at any given moment.

“That’s an incredible number, and it shows you how much we need more housing in Madison County,” Younger said, having said earlier their rough estimate on the outset is about 20% of the people taking the total of 5,600 (1,120) jobs locating in Madison County in the next three to five years.

If that number were true, that would be a little more than a 1% increase in population for Madison County, who currently has a little less than 99,000 residents.

Spurgeon has said at more than one meeting in recent months they’re expecting anywhere from 10 to 13 percent over the next decade.

“I’m hopeful that our projections and what we hear today from Sharon will actually be more conservative than reality,” Spurgeon said. “Because they are projections, and there’s a good chance they’ll be off one way or the other.

“But if they’re off because we’ll grow more than we expect, then that’s a good thing.”

Construction of both the Ford Motors plant and SK Innovations at Blue Oval City began last summer and the leadership and human resources teams are being put in place in recent months. Hiring is expected to begin to increase dramatically in 2024 with more than 2,000 hires expected and more in 2025 as production is set to begin then.

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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