The Williamson County Association of Realtors unveiled a county growth study Tuesday in partnership with Middle Tennessee State University, showing the exponential growth occurring in Williamson County over the past few decades actually “pays for itself”, according to the study.
The six-month study, “Population Growth & Economic Dynamics: A Case Study for Williamson County,” presented by WCAR leadership at the Breakfast with the Mayors Tuesday, examines the relationship between population growth and economic dynamics in Williamson County.
Sponsored by WCAR, the study was completed by the Business and Economic Research Center at MTSU.
“Our goal in sponsoring this study was to not only examine comprehensively the population growth and economic dynamics in Williamson County, but to also help create conversations on the future of our great county and what growth will look like,” said Kyle Shults, WCAR board president.
“The data collected allows us to establish benchmarks necessary in supporting future decisions regarding our continued growth.”
Shults and government affairs director Bo Patten delivered the results of the study, sharing key statistics to give insight into the growth of the county over the past 15 years.
Results of the growth study
Results show that Williamson County has grown by over 65 percent in the past 15 years and by 2027 the Williamson County population is expected to grow to a population of 315,525. Currently, the county population is 232,129.
The fastest growing age groups in Williamson County are those over 65 and those under 18.
With that growth in mind, it is not surprising that the population of school-aged children grew 139 percent over the past 15 years, the study said.
However, Shults highlighted one of the most significant findings in the study – revenue across the county increased by 430 percent since 1992, while expenditures increased by 426 percent.
“Revenue growth has far exceeded population growth from 1992 to 2015,” Shults said.
The study addressed a key question, “Has growth been good for Williamson County?”
A graph shows that from 1992 to 2015, the population grew by 140 percent, while expenditures grew by 426 percent and revenue grew by 430 percent.
“These expenditures are what help create a county that people love,” Shults said.
With those numbers in mind, revenues collected exceed the rate of population growth.
Later Shults explained that in the study’s case simulation of 1,196 new households (during a 5 year time period), the findings suggest that the households contribute $20 million in taxes and fees to state and local governments and $34 million to the federal government, though those households cost the county $10.6 million on average.
“We concluded that Williamson County growth is paying for itself,” Shults said.
“That may not be the case with all counties, even some within our study, but through responsible leadership and sustainable growth, Williamson County has reinvested those resources back into its community people and way of life.”
Shults then delved into the benefits of growth in education and the economy. Some of those benefits include Williamson County housing the highest achieving school districts, boasting high graduation rates, higher education degrees, while close to half of high school students are college ready. The ACT average score 25.2 highest in the state and the county carries the lowest unemployment rate for the past 3 years.
Meanwhile, the economy has boomed with employment opportunities increasing by 46 percent from 2007 to 2017.
Most of all, Shults emphasized that they want to generate community discussion with the outcomes of the study in order to conceptualize the county’s growth rate, its benefits and how it affects education, the economy and community life.
Patten also highlighted the report’s importance to realtors as they carry out their duties and educate homebuyers.
“We want people to see our members as not just trying to sell a house but people who know this information, are experts and a valuable community resource.”