by Kara Lopp
Did you know that Matthews’ 2011 median household income was nearly 23 percent higher than Mecklenburg County’s? Or did you know that Matthews households earning more than $100,000 a year increased significantly between 2000 and 2011?
These facts and more about Matthews were news to the 60 people who attended a business summit in Matthews Friday, May 18. Hosted by the town and its Economic Development Advisory Committee, the free event was the fifth summit of its kind in Matthews and featured a presentation by Frank Warren of consulting firm Kimley-Horn and Associates, which has an office in Charlotte.
Warren used statistics about Matthews population, median household income, tax base and more to paint a picture of recent trends in the town and pose questions about what leaders can do to attract more residents and businesses. Town spokeswoman Annette Privette Keller also spoke about the town’s way finding and beautification projects and Commissioner John Urban spoke about the downtown master plan, which is undergoing changes.
Among Warren’s findings:
• Matthews’ population grew by 5,486 people from 2000 to 2011, with 1,091 of those added since 2007. The growth since 2000 is nearly 25 percent.
• Matthews’ school age population, 19 and younger, increased by nearly 9 percent from 2000 to 2011 with similar growth for people ages 20 to 34. Those ages 35 to 44 declined by more than 9 percent and those ages 45 and older saw marked increases. The largest increase was those ages 55 to 64, which grew from about 1,500 people in that age category in 2000 to more than 3,000 people in that category in 2011. With the baby boomers-effect, Warren said town leaders need to think about what they can do to attract “creative thinkers” in their 20s and more young families. “You have the assets here, but I would say that they’re not being fully leveraged,” he said.
• Matthews households earning more than $100,000 a year saw the greatest increase from 2000 to 2011, jumping from just less than 1,500 households in 2000 to just more than 2,000 households in 2011. Households earning from $150,000 to $199,999 jumped from about 250 in 2000 to about 700 in 2011 and households earning more than $200,000 a year increased from about 100 in 2000 to just under 500 households in 2011. What was shocking most to Warren, though, was the large increase in the number of Matthews households earning less than $25,000 a year. This number rose from about 700 in 2000 to about 1,250 in 2011. This may reflect an increase of seniors on fixed incomes, he said.
• Matthews’ tax base in 2011 was about 65 percent residential and 35 percent commercial, representing an about 2 percent decrease from 2007 in residential properties and an about 2 percent increase in commercial properties during the same time period.
For more information about the business summit, including copies of the presentations, visit www.matthewsnc.com/Departments/EconomicDevelopment.aspx.