Truth Check: Pinellas Young are Not Moving Out of Our County Despite Greenlight Claims.

Greenlight Pinellas is working “In the Shadows” and deceiving voters by claiming the young are moving out of our county due to a train. The data shows they are merely aging and staying and that cities with rail are worst off among young and all workers moving in to work full time!
Greenlight Pinellas and Jeff Danner are working “In the Shadows” and deceiving voters by claiming the young are moving out of our county due to lack of a train. The data shows they are merely aging and staying in the county. Charlotte and its county with rail are worse off when looking at the change in proportions of young and all workers moving in to work full time!  Pinellas wins – without rail!

One of the claims made by paid Greenlight spokesperson and former PSTA Chair/City Councilman Jeff Danner regarding county demographics and jobs is a deception, according to the Sunbeam Times Truth Check. Politician turned Paid-Political-Consultant Mr. Danner receives $4,000 per month to promote Greenlight and offers statements that claim Pinellas is losing younger people. He then asserts that we need the highest sales tax in the state and a light rail system to keep younger people here. An example of this repeated errors is from the 9/8/14 debate at Disston Heights (see full quote below) where he said: “Between 2000 and 2010, 20% of our 30 year olds left this county”. He then offered: “That’s our workforce, those are our kids, that’s our future.  And we need to figure out what is it that we can do to keep those people here.” He concluded the segment by implying that building a train in Pinellas is the “opportunity” and that Greenlight has “Figured that out”!

To analyze these assertions, Neurosurgeon Dr. McKalip, founder and editor of the Sunbeam Times analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau, including its general population demographic data and from the Migration data of  5 year ACS community surveys. Data was downloaded and analyzed to perform a Sunbeam Times Truth Check.

The conclusion is that Jeff Danner’s Statements are “In the Shadows”. That means they are designed to deceive and mislead with half-truths and facts while ignoring the full story.

Greenlight/Danner Assertion Truth
30 year olds are leaving Pinellas.
  • 30 year olds are aging and staying in Pinellas.
  • In Fact, the 25-34 year old age bracket had 10,000 more people than would be expected by aging of the population alone!
30 year olds will stay if we have a train.
  • Mecklenburg County (Charlotte, NC) had a bigger drop in the proportion of 30 year olds living there than Pinellas.
  • The County with the light rail had a harder time attracting this population than Pinellas!
30 year olds will stay here for jobs due to a train.
  • Pinellas beat Charlotte’s County per capita job growth occurring with  migration into the county!
  • More of those people moving into Pinellas  had actual jobs. Without a train.

Pinellas citizens from age 25-34 are not leaving the county, they are aging WITHIN the county!

The data provided by the Census bureau for migration in and out of counties does not provide information on the age groups. So for Danner to conclude that 30 year olds had left for other counties would require a level of data analysis not currently performed or publicly provided by the Federal Government. That said, it is true that the percentage of the population between the ages of 25 and 34 has dropped from 2000 to 2012, but this is only due to an aging population. The percentage in 2000 was 11.77% while in 2012 it was 10.9%. However, in 2012 the number of people in the next oldest age group, 35-44, was slightly larger than in the 25-34 age group in 2000. So while there were 108,478 24-34 year olds in 2000 there were 111,474 2012 (The analysis for 2000 was similar at 111,363). The 35-44 year old age group had a similar aging phenomenon, moving into the 45-54 age bracket 12 years later at about the same rate (143,476 in 2000 and 145,785 in 2012).  Thus the statement that “20% of 30 year olds left the county” is completely false,  but Danner did later qualify that by stating that 20% of those in the 1% who left were age 30.  Thus his statement is misleading, qualifying it as deceptive enough to be labeled “In the Shadows” by the Sunbeam Times Truth Check. This graphic demonstrates the real migration of the 35-34 year olds: from one age bracket to another as they age ten years!

(Incidentally, Mr. Danner had contradicted prior population claims by Greenlight in the past that population was growing when he accidentally reported the truth in public: Transportation is indeed shrinking!)

 Younger populations stayed in Pinellas and another 10,000 joined them.  This is a gain that is higher than expected in the 25-34 year old age group.

When one looks at the migration from the 15-24 year old age group to the 25-34 year old group, there was actually a larger than expected gain, by 10,000 people!  The number in the 15-24 year old bracket in 2000 was 88,816, but ten years later in 2010, the number in the next age bracket was 99,379. (raw Data below**)

30 year olds have not left Pinellas County over the last decade. Ten years later, they are turning into - gasp - 40 year olds!

30 year olds have not left Pinellas County over the last decade. Ten years later, they are turning into – gasp – 40 year olds!

So despite Mr. Danner’s assertion that 30 year olds are migrating out of the county (implicitly because they don’t have a train here), it turns out they just grew ten years older ten years later.  Further, the age group gained an extra 10,000 above what would have come from aging of the local population alone. Perhaps Mr. Danner should look at the phenomenon of aging and determine if it would be better to raise taxes to build a “fountain of youth” to keep “those people” (30 year olds) here in Pinellas!

Mr. Danner is wrong to assert that trains attract and keep younger people; The opposite may be true!

Mecklenburg County (Charlotte, North Carolina) has had a bigger drop in the portion of the population in the 25-34 year old group compared to Pinellas County. So while Mr. Danner claims we are “losing 30 year olds” and asserts that a train will stop that, he ignores the fact that the per capita drop in that age group is even larger in the county with rail! While total population has grown in Charlotte by about 300,000 from 2000 to 2012, the portion included in the 25-34 year old age group has dropped by 10.1% as the population ages. This is a larger drop than in Pinellas which has a 7.4% drop in that age group as a portion of population. So a county with a light rail system (Charlotte’s) had a larger drop in the percentage of people who were 35-34 years of age than Pinellas (without light rail).

Percentage change in “30 year olds” in county with and without rail.

County Difference in Change as portion of population (per capita change) Percent of population in each county 2000 Percent of Population in each county 2012
Pinellas -7.4% 11.8% 10.9%
Mecklenburg (Charlotte) -10.1% 18.7% 16.8%

 

The Impact of migration is small, even if Mr. Danner is correct.

Mr. Danner stated that “Between 2000 and 2010, 20% of our 30 year olds left this county” then further stated: “It’s not so bad [if] we lose 1% but of that 1%, when your 30 year olds are leaving, and 20% of them are gone….”  The numbers are clear. The total drop in population in Pinellas County was 4940 residents from 2000 to 2010. Of that, 20%, per the assertion of Mr. Danner, were 30 year olds (he provides no reference for this). That would mean we have 988 fewer 30 year olds. However, where did they go? No reference to this information can be found on the Greenlight Pinellas website or those of the MPO or PSTA. The fact is, that most of them merely stayed here and aged! Even if Danner was right, this “loss” is negated by the numbers of people moving here for actual jobs….read on. It is also negated by the additional 10,000 gained in the age bracket compared to expectations from aging alone (see above)

Mr. Danner is wrong to assert that People will migrate to Pinellas for jobs due to train.

Pinellas County has had a greater percentage gain in workers of  people moving into the county per year between 2008 and 2012 compared to Mecklenburg County.  The average annual growth in population in Pinellas between 2008 and 2012 was 3907 (based on migration between counties) , with Mecklenburg gaining 8676 annually (by migration). However the percentage of those migrating into a county with actual employment was greater in Pinellas than Mecklenburg ( even with their light rail system that opened there in 2007).  Between 2008 and 2012,  of those migrating into Pinellas, 60% were full time workers . That is in a county without rail and is stronger than the growth in Charlotte’s County, which showed only a 35% growth in full time employed workers moving into the county! The total growth of all jobs (Part Time and Full time) through migration between counties was also greater in Pinellas (48%) vs. Mecklenburg County (43%). This is due to an out-migration of those with part time jobs from Pinellas by 11% with Charlotte gaining part time workers by 8.4%. So, contrary to Mr. Danner’s assertion that having a train will “keep those people here” (30 year olds) data shows that in a county without a light rail and its massive tax burden (Pinellas), part time workers are more likely to leave while full time workers are more likely to move in!  The Charlotte area had a greater number of population growth, but far fewer of those moving in had full time jobs.

Percent change in Employed Workers by MIGRATION to Rail and No Rail County

County Feature Full Time workers of those moving in to county2008-20012 All Wokers of those moving in to county2008-2012
Pinellas Worker Growth by MIGRATION from Other Counties(Percent of total inflow that were workers)Without Train 60% 48%
Mecklenburg (Charlotte) Worker Growth by MIGRATION from Other Counties(Percent of total inflow that were workers)With Train 35% 43%

Mr. Danner should retract his statements and make an effort to correct them to all groups he has addressed while pushing Greenlight Pinellas with its highest sales tax in the state.


References:

* Quotes from Mr. Danner at September 8, 2013 Disston Heights rail debate with Randall O’Toole (Youtube video from time marks 2 to 3 minutes).

“Between 2000 and 2010, 20% of our 30 year olds left this county”

“To me that’s scary and we need to fix that…Its not so bad we lose 1% but of that 1%, when your 30 year olds are leaving, and 20% of them are gone,

“That’s our workforce, those are our kids, that’s our future. And we need to figure out what is it that we can do to keep those people here….we’ve got an industry based on tourism, it used to be construction….So its this opportunity…

What Greenlight Pinellas has done is figured that out…What each of those community needs… The Light rail plan, which is the spine that gets the attention…does go to our employment centers. Gateway has 60,000 people working there.”

**

Pinellas population by Age Brackets (source US Census Bureau)

Age 2000 2010 2012
Under 5 45,354.00 42,349.00 42,407.00
5 to 14 102,460.00 89,848.00 89,717.00
15 to 24 88,816.00 97,514.00 97,651.00
25 to 34 108,478.00 99,379.00 99,990.00
35 to 44 143,476.00 111,363.00 111,474.00
45 to 54 129,215.00 147,591.00 145,785.00
55 to 64 96,120.00 134,399.00 134,332.00
65 to 74 96,537.00 95,294.00 96,066.00
over 75 111,026.00 98,805.00 99,967.00
Total 921,482.00 916,542.00 917,389.00

Population annualy migrating into Pinellas County and percentage who are workers, 2008-2012 (Census Bureau Annual Community Survey)

Population Net Percent of Total Population Migrating into county
Full Time 2356 60.30202
Part Time -458 -11.7225
All Workers 1898 48.57947
Total 3907

Population Annually Migrating into Mecklenburg County (Charlotte, NC) and percentage who are workers, 2008-2012.

 

Population Net Percentage of migrants into county
Full Time 3050 35.15445
Part Time 728 8.390964
All Workers 3778 43.54541
Total 8676
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2 Replies:

  1. John Burgess

    Jeff Danner says, “….we’ve got an industry based on tourism, it used to be construction…”
    The tourist industry is concentrated on the beaches but the train does not go to the beaches, to Tampa,
    to other parts of the county, just back and forth between downtown Clearwater and downtown St. Pete.

    Seems like Mr. Danner and PSTA should concentrate on buses that can actually go where the tourists and the jobs are for the 30-year olds. We really do not need a $3.3 BILLION train, we need to fix PSTA.

    We certainly do not need the highest sales tax in Florida!

Comments are closed.