St. Paul vs. Austin: Statistics Lie
A recent writer compared the populations of St. Paul, Minnesota, and Austin, Texas, and used those numbers to infer that St. Paul was/is being mismanaged and that is why Austin’s population has grown while St. Paul’s population has not. My first thought was statistics, we all know what “they” say about statistics. I am no demographer but in just a few minutes I found some statistics that I think explain the previous writer’s statistics, and it has nothing to do with taxes or mismanagement.
St. Paul is enclosed by eight other cities and does not have any room to grow. In fact St. Paul only covers 56.18 square miles while Austin, Texas, according to The University of Texas at Austin’s website, with no suburbs to speak of, covers 318.6 square miles with another 307.63 square miles considered “extra-territorial jurisdiction.”
Seven of the cities that enclose St. Paul to the south, east and north, include Mendota Heights, West St. Paul, South St. Paul, Woodbury, Oakdale, Maplewood and Roseville. According to the U.S. Census Bureau they have a combined population of 214,271. Those are all people who cannot live in St. Paul because there is no land in St. Paul to develop. And that is just the first ring of the greater suburbs.
I did not include Minneapolis to the west, population 387,753, as they are similar to St. Paul in they can’t grow. There is no land available. The suburbs block any expansion. The previous writer’s use of a population comparison to attempt to prove that taxes or mismanagement is the reason Austin has grown while St. Paul has not is misleading at best. If you add them up that is a population of 887,024 versus Austin’s 790,390. And if you were to add the western suburbs, well, you know where that will lead.
Take it all with a grain of salt, you know what “they” say about people who use statistics.
Kent F. Strunk