CHAPTER 2 - Population and Economy

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1 CHAPTER 2 - Population and Economy Siler City is located in Western Chatham County West of Raleigh and the Triangle and South of Greensboro at the junction of US Highway 64 and US Highway 421. It was incorporated in POPULATION & HOUSING CHARACTERISTICS Historic Population Growth Since 1950 and before 2000, Siler City has generally shown steady but slow natural population growth for all periods except the decade of 1970 to 1980 when the Town actually lost population. High growth between 1950 and 1960 is the result of annexation of new territory by the Town. During the post World War II period, Siler City exhibited population growth patterns similar to other small industrial mill towns in the state. Growth was steady, but as industry aged and companies closed, population growth slowed and then decreased as residents sought opportunity elsewhere. Unlike other rural portions of the state, this trend has reversed in the past 20 years. From 1990 to 2000 Siler City experienced growth of 44.9 percent, almost double the North Carolina state growth rate of 21.4 percent. Some of this growth can be explained by annexation, but most is the result of large in-migration by new population groups. Siler City Total Population Historic Population Growth Rates Percent Growth Siler City 78.1% 5.2% -5.2% 8.1% 44.9% Chatham County 5.5% 10.3% 13.1% 16.0% 27.3% North Carolina 12.2% 11.6% 15.7% 11.3% 21.4% Source: US Census

2 Age Distribution Age Composition: 1990 and 2000 Age Group 1990 Percent of Total Pop Percent of Total Pop. Pre School Less than 5 6.9% % 340 years School Age % % College Age % % Working , % % Retiree 65+ 1, % % Source: US Census, 1990, 2000 The table above shows the age composition of Siler City between the census years of 1990 and During this time period the percentage of pre-school children to the total population of the Town remained the same. The largest percentage of growth occurred in the year age groups and the 65+ retiree age groups. Median Age Median Age is the age that divides the total age frequency into two equal parts, (i.e., half of individuals are older than the median age and half are younger than the median age). It is a good indicator to gauge whether a population is getting older. The table below shows the dramatic changes that have taken place in the population of Siler City. In 1990, the Town had a higher median age than both the state and county. In 2000, while Chatham County and North Carolina were getting older, Siler City s population was getting younger. The Towns median age dropped from 37.1 to Household Size and Characteristics Median Age Comparison 1990 to % Change Siler City % Chatham County % North Carolina % Source: US Census Bureau 1990; 2000 Siler City s average household population size increased between the census years 1990 and 2000 from 2.49 to 2.86 persons per household (PPH). This increase was in contrast to the general county and state trends of reduced household sizes. From 1990 to 2000, Chatham County s PPH decreased from 2.50 to 2.47 and the North Carolina average from 2.54 to The 1989 Land Development Plan reported that the Siler City s household size had been steadily decreasing from 1970 to This trend continued through The 1989 plan forecast a continuation of this downward trend. The rapid in-migration to the town during the 1990 s, and a changing population composition have dramatically reversed this trend and could not have been forecast by the 1989 plan. Siler City is presently experiencing a growth in the number of larger

3 families. The implications of this change mean that the town will need to consider a wider mix of housing types in coming years than was forecast in the late 1980 s. Data describing ownership and condition of the housing stock from the 2000 census is presented in the table below. The housing stock data is consistent with a town experiencing rapid growth in population. According to census data, Siler City had a lower percentage of vacant dwelling units than either the county or state. The dwelling occupancy rate increased from 93.5 percent reported in the 1989 Land Development Plan to The census statistic percentage of housing units with over one person is an indication of density and overcrowding. Siler City exceeded both state and county averages in the total number of occupants per dwelling. The low vacancy rate coupled with a higher population density indicate a need for an increased housing supply. One measure of housing stock condition is the number of structures lacking complete plumbing facilities. The overall condition of the town s housing stock is good. The percentage of units with inadequate plumbing in town was below both county and state averages. This figure improved from 2.8 percent of structures lacking complete plumbing in 1980 (the figure reported in the 1989 plan) to only 0.75 percent in Housing Characteristics 2000 Siler City Chatham County North Carolina Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Total Housing Units , % 3,523, % Total Number Occupied 2, % 19, % 3,132, % Total Number Vacant % % 391, % No. Owner Occupied % 15, % 2,172, % No. Renter Occupied % 4, % 959, % % Lacking Plumbing 0.75% 2.11% 1.05% % of housing Units with over 1person per room Owner 6.25% 2.29% 1.78% % of housing Units with over 1 persons per room - Rental 28.7% 10.64% 7.10% Median Value $79,300 $113,300 $95,800 Source: US Census of Housing 2000 Housing Demand & Construction Activity The population growth from 1990 to 2000 increased the demand for housing. According to the 2000 US Census, the total number of housing units during this period increased from 2,027 to 2,526 total units. The number of owner occupied units increased over this period from 1,257 to 1,409, representing 55.8 percent to 62.0 percent of total units. The number of new manufactured units grew from 231 to 400. In 2003, Single-family sitebuilt residential structures continue to make up the majority of the housing stock. 67 percent of housing units within the town limits are single-family site-built homes. Multifamily and duplex structures comprise 15 percent of the housing stock, while manufactured housing units make up 18 percent of the housing stock. The percentage of site-built single-family homes as a total of the overall housing supply decreased from 1989 when 75.6 percent of all homes were site-built single-family structures. Manufactured housing increased from 12.2 percent of the supply in 1989 to 18 percent

4 in The change in the mix of housing types was predicted in the 1989 plan and is a result of large manufactured housing developments which were developed within the past decade. The growth in manufactured housing as a percentage of the total housing stock is expected to slow in the coming decade as new conventional subdivisions are developed. The table below presents the total and type of building permits issued in the past decade. Total residential building permits peaked in 1999 with 144 permits issued. This figure includes 96 permits issued for manufactured homes. Commercial permit activity has varied from a low of 4 permits in both 1995 and 1996, to a high of 13 permits issued in 1999 and Siler City Building Permits Mobile Home on Private Lot Mobile Home on Rental Lot All Other Residential All Residential Commercial Source: Town of Siler City Racial and Ethnic Composition Siler City has witnessed a dramatic shift in the ethnic and racial composition of the community. In 1990, 70.6% percent of resident s described themselves as White, 26.9% African-American and 2.5% for all other races. This changed from 1980 when the composition was 75.6% white, 24.2% African-American and 0.2% other. The 1989 Plan reported that the non-white population had been growing steadily since The 2000 Census data shows a dramatic shift in racial composition. In 2000, the white population had dropped to 50.8%, African-American to 19.7% and the Other race category increased to 26.5%. While some changes in the way race is defined have varied between census years, the data indicates the general trend in Siler City toward a diverse population. In the decade of the 1990 s much of the Siler City s population growth may be attributed to in-migration of people of Hispanic origin. In % of the Town s population described themselves at Hispanic. In 2000 this figure had increased to 39%. Hispanics now make up the largest ethnic minority in the community. The new ethnic makeup of the community has, and will continue to have an effect on Town services and programs.

5 Population Projections Municipal population change is a function of two primary factors. The rate of natural change is the difference of births over deaths and migration. From the end of World War II until 1990, most of the Town s growth occurred due to annexations. From the 1960 s until the 1990 s the Town exhibited the slow growth characteristic of Piedmont North Carolina outside of the major metro areas. The migration rate of new persons moving to the Town was not a major factor in the population change of the community. The 1989 plan forecast continued steady growth at a rate less than that for Chatham County. In 1989 it was forecast that much of the Town s future population growth would be due to annexation. As was mentioned in earlier sections of this document, the large population growth rates of the past decade can be attributed to population moving into town. For the first time since 1960, Siler City s growth rate now exceeds both the County and the North Carolina average. Population Trends It is difficult to forecast municipal population projections for smaller towns and cities due to the available data and unforeseen political events such as an annexation. Siler City s rapid in-migration of the past decade was unexpected and difficult to forecast. TABLE 1: Population Projections for 2010, and 2020 In 2000 Siler City s population was 14.1 percent of Chatham County s. Making the assumption that Siler City s proportion of the county population will stay similar, we can use the county population projection data to predict a future population for the Town. The following table projects a future population for Siler City in 2010 and Siler City 6,966 8,432 9,944 Chatham County 49,329 59,806 70,524 TABLE 2: Chatham County Projected Population Growth Year Natural Increase Percent of Total Net Migration Percent of Total Total Increase , % 8, % 10, , % 8, % 10,718 Source: Office of State Planning

6 Two major factors affecting growth are the rate of natural increase (births minus deaths) and net migration. Projections by the NC State Data Center indicate that most new growth in the county over the next 20 years will come from migration into the county.

7 ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS Siler City has historically served as Chatham County s industrial and commercial center. Located at the cross roads of US Highways 64 and 421, the town is strategically located with easy access to both the Research Triangle and Triad markets. The town has freight railroad service and owns the Siler City Municipal Airport. Employment The manufacturing sector has long been the base of Siler City s economy. In both the 1980 and 1990 Census, manufacturing accounted for the majority of Siler City s total employment. In 2000, the manufacturing sector continued to employ the largest percentage of workers at 47.5 percent followed by the service sector at 20.8 percent. Retail and wholesale trade was the third largest category at 13.5 percent. Siler City remains the industrial center of the county with a concentration of manufacturing employment greater than the countywide average. The table below compares the percentage of the Town s employment by sector to both the county and state. Employment By Economic Sector 2000 Economic Sector Town County State Agriculture 1.3% 2.7% 1.6% Construction 8.2% 9.0% 8.2% Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate 4.0% 4.2% 6.0% Government 2.0% 3.2% 4.1% Manufacturing 47.5% 22.3% 19.7% Service 20.8% 41.1% 38.4% Trade 13.5% 11.9% 14.9% Transportation and utilities. 2.1% 3.3% 4.6% Other 0.6% 2.4% 2.3% Source: 2000 US Census Major Employers Siler City is home to several of Chatham County s largest manufacturing employers. Seven of the ten largest county employers are based in Siler City. The food processing, textile and furniture manufacturing industries have comprised the base for the town s economy. Recent major improvements to US Highways 421 serving Greensboro, and US Highway 64 to the Research Triangle region have improved the accessibility of the town. A planned expansion to the Town s water supply coupled with transportation improvements will help the town diversify its economic base. The Land Development Plan makes several strategy recommendations to help promote the expansion and diversification of the local economy.

8 Chatham County Largest Employers (Government/Public Not Included) Company Specialization Primary County-wide Location Employment 1 Townsend s Inc. Poultry Processing Siler City 1,275 2 Goldkist Inc. Poultry Processing Siler City Mastercraft Fabrics Upholstery Fabrics for Auto & Home Siler City Honeywell Industrial Yarns for Tires & Seat Belts Moncure Phantom USA Women's Hosiery Siler City Palm Harbor Homes Mobile & Modular Homes Siler City Sierra Pine Ltd. Particleboard & Density Fiberboard Moncure Willamette Industries Woodworking Moncure Charles Craft, Inc. Yarn Siler City Precision Steele & Welding Machine Shop Siler City 130 Source: Research Triangle Partnership Income Siler City s per capita income was $13,947 in 2000 according to the US Census. This compares to $23,355 for Chatham County and $20,307 for the state. Median family and household incomes for Chatham County have been growing faster than the state average. This reflects the growth resulting from expansion of the Research Triangle area. Median Household Income Year Siler City Chatham County North Carolina 1980 $16,161 $15,388 $14, $21,987 $28,539 $26, $33,651 $42,851 $39,184 Source: US Census Median Family Income Year Siler City Chatham County North Carolina 1980 $19,954 $17,422 $16, $34,176 $32,201 $32, $41,357 $50,909 $46,335 Source: US Census Tax Rates

9 Siler City s low municipal tax rate is competitive with surrounding communities. The Town has one of the lowest tax rates in the region. The chart below compares Siler City s effective municipal tax rate with other municipalities. Effective Municipal Tax Rates Municipality Tax Rate FY Asheboro.50 Burlington.50 Carrboro.6852 Carthage.42 Chapel Hill.5530 Graham.48 Liberty.48 Pittsboro.43 Ramseur.46 Randleman.48 Sanford.56 Siler City.41 All rates are per $100 evaluation. Source: North Carolina League of Municipalities, Commuting Patterns The town s role as an employment center is evident from the commuting pattern data from the US Census. In 2000, the percentage of Town residents working within Chatham County exceeded the overall percentage of county residents working within Chatham County. As growth from the Research Triangle region has spread into Chatham County from the east, more bedroom communities have developed to serve employers in the Research Triangle Park. In 2000, 54.8 percent of Chatham County residents worked outside the county while 44.7 percent worked within. In 1980, the data available during the 1989 Land Development Plan, the number of resident s commuting out of the county to work was 39 percent. In contrast, most Siler City residents work within the immediate area. The 2000 census reported that 74.2 percent of the resident labor force worked within Chatham County. Of those Town residents working within the county, 54 percent worked within Siler City itself. Siler City Labor Force Place of Employment 2000 Place of Employment Percentage of Labor Force Inside Siler City 54% Inside Chatham County (outside town limits) 20.2% Outside Chatman County 25.8% Source: 2000 US Census

10 Agriculture The town has historically played a major role in county agriculture by serving as a supply and support center for farms within the area. While agriculture statewide has continued to decline, it remains an important part of Chatham County s economy. The poultry business was promoted in the 1920 s to help supplement row crops and still play s a significant role in the local economy. Townsend s Inc. is one of Chatham County s largest employers. Many farmers have participated in agricultural preservation by voluntarily placing their farms in state agricultural districts. Siler City s extra-territorial planning jurisdiction (ETJ), expanded in 2002 to three miles, includes many working farms. The Land Development Plan supports the continuation of agro-business in rural portions of the Town s ETJ.

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