Population Analysis: On-line Lesson

A population analysis is an integral element in the identifying various market segments or consumers of leisure services. The two major categories which are analyzed are:

1) Demographics: are socio-economic characteristics of the population or market. The characteristics include: age; income, gender, ethnicity, education level and occupation.

2) Trends: are the growth or changes in the population its distribution (where the population centers are) and projection (where the population will shift or grow).

A population analysis is developed from information obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau or some other data collection organization such as:
 
bulletU.S. Department of Commerce
bulletState Health Department
bulletLocal Planning documents

Population Analysis

Although there is no one format used for this type of analysis the analysis should contain in some way the following key data:

I. Community Profile (population demographics)

  1. Age of population
  2. Income of population
  3. Gender mix
  4. Education levels
  5. Ethnicity mix

II. Population Trends

  1. Population growth
  2. Population distribution
  3. Population projection

III. Other socio-demographic factors

  1. Cost of living index (American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association)
  2. Government
  3. Community resources

* Samples of data used:

Age Distribution

As shown in the table below, the fastest growing age groups are senior (over 65) and older adults (ages 45 to 69). In terms of sheer numbers, however, the largest increase in population was among young adults (ages 21 to 44). Minors (under 21) make up over one-third of Flagstaffs population.

These statistics reflect a young population: the median age in 1990 was 24.6, increasing slightly to 25.2 in 1995. For recreation planning purposes this suggests that the two major groups of concern are the youth, (35.1 percent of the population), and younger adults in the 21 to 44 age group, (44.8 percent of the population).

Age Group 1990 Percent 1995 Percent Percent Change
Under 5 years 3,302 7.2 3,314 1.1 0.4
5 to 17 years 8,220 17.9 9,169 16.8 11.6
18 to 20 years 6,080 13.3 6,663 12.2 7.6
21 to 24 years 5,812 12.7 7,854 14.4 35.1
25 to 44 years 14,677 32.0 16,548 30.4 12.8
45 to 54 years 3,584 7.8 5,235 9.6 46.1
55 to 59 years 1,182 2.6 1,610 3.0 36.2
60 to 64 years 1,017 2.2 1,215 2.2 19.5
65 to 74 years 1,316 2.9 1,850 3.4 40.6
75 to 84 years 507 1.1 751 1.4 48.1
85 years and over 160 0.3 271 0.5 69.4
Total 45,857 54,480 18.8
Under 18 11,522 25.1 12,483 22.9 8.3
65 and over 1,983 4.3 2.872 5.3 44.8

Ethnic Distribution

Different ethnic groups have differing needs for parks and recreation. Understanding the ethnic composition and shifts in that composition will allow the city to better accommodate culturally different needs. Bilingual signage in parks, as well as bilingual publicity programs, can help to reduce barriers to participation among non-English speaking residents. There does not appear to be a consequential bilingual problem within the community; however, cultural factors must be considered when planning park facilities and designing recreation programs and services.

As shown in the table below, ethnic minorities comprise approximately one-fifth of Flagstaffs population. This ethnic composition has remained fairly stable since 1990. The largest non Caucasian group is Hispanic (any race), which comprised 15.9 percent of the population. Asian Americans and 'other' had the largest percentage increase.

Ethnic Group 1990 Percent 1995 Percent Percent Change
African Americans 1,135 2.5 1,089 2.0 4.05
American Indians 4,210 9.2 4,869 8.9 15.65
Asians 657 1.4 909 1.7 38.36
Caucasian 36,519 79.6 43,070 79.1 17.94
Hispanic (any race) 6,972 15.2 8,653 15.9 24.11
Other 3,336 7.3 4,543 8.3 36.18

Educational Attainment

Data on educational attainment is a good indicator of the kinds of park, recreation, open space, and environmental concerns which residents expect. In Flagstaff, for example, given the presence of a large university and a relatively high number of college graduates, there is a high level of interest in outdoor recreation, cultural arts, and environmental issues.

Based on the 1990 census, the table below illustrates educational attainment among Flagstaffs population. Flagstaff residents can be considered well educated. Nearly one-third hold a bachelor's degree or higher, and 86.9 percent are high school graduates.

Educational Level Total Percent
Less than 9th grade 1,090 4.8
9th to 12th grade 1,848 8.2
High school graduate 4,370 19.4
Some college, no degree 6,512 28.9
Associate degree 1,282 5.7
Bachelor's degree 4,327 19.2
Graduate or professional degree 3,027 13.4

Income

Income levels provide information on ability to pay a share of the costs of providing parks and recreation services. In Flagstaff, 55.8 percent of the households have incomes in excess of $25,000. The median household income is $28,382. There is a substantial disparity between incomes of family households ($34,952) versus non-family households ($15,995). If Flagstaff succeeds in attracting more high tech, R&D, medical, managerial and other higher paying jobs as well as sustained growth of Northern Arizona University, it is likely that this household income profile should remain proportionally the same.

Household Income - 1989 Total Percent
less than $5,000 954 6.6
$5,000 to $9,999 1,393 9.7
$10,000 to $14,999 1,416 9.8
$15,000 to $24,999 2,608 18.1
$25,000 to $34,999 2,499 17.4
$35,000 to $49,999 2,387 16.6
$50,000 to $74,999 2,109 14.7
$75,000 to $99,999 650 4.5
$100,000 to $149,999 280 1.9
$150,000 or more 98 0.7

ACCRA Cost of Living Index (*ACCRA)

Component 3rd Q/93 4th Q/94 Change
National Norm = 100.00
Grocery Items 98.6 101.4 +2.8
Housing 111.9 120.7 +8.8
Utilities 86.0 90.6 +4.9
Transportation 1116.6 116.3 -0.3
Health Care 106.6 110.8 +4.2
Misc. Goods and Services 101.6 104.5 +2.9
Composite Index 104.4 108.9 +4.5

*Source American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association

Information provided courtesy of City of Flagstaff Parks and Recreation Division

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