The raw numbers themselves are thought provoking. According to the Census Bureau, the state's population increased by nearly 100 thousand between June of 2003 and June 2004.....That's an increase of more than 4 point one percent. A full percentage point more than the second fastest growing state....Arizona...almost 2 percent faster than the 3rd Florida.
The numbers may be new, but the story isn't . The reminders are all around us everyday...more traffic....longer commutes....the construction sites we pass....the smog that's now a nearly permanent feature of our winter day landscape.
We may see the effects of this growth every day, but in terms of people, it's hard to picture. Here's a way. This next year we will add more than 92 thousand people to the state. Enough to fill Mackay Stadium three times over.
Or put another way, we're adding 10 people to our population every hour. Those people need homes, jobs and services and there's no end in sight.
State Demographer Jeff Hardcastle figures we'll add another one point three million people in the next 20 years...that means a lot of new infrastructure. And that challenge will fuel our public debate in the years ahead. Of course, this rapid growth is also a sign of a healthy economy, and the projected growth means continued opportunity.