Asheville by the numbers

Times have changed, and nothing shows it quite like the cold, hard numbers.
The Asheville of 1994 was smaller in both size and population. The metro area (Buncombe plus surrounding counties) has seen a population boom, with about 74,000 new arrivals, while Asheville has gained about 10,000 residents. The budget has also shot up — thanks partly to those new arrivals and partly because the city now has a larger role in various things (festivals, storm water) than it did 15 years ago.

Things have also changed quite a bit economically. There are many more businesses but far fewer manufacturing jobs. The average income has risen and the property-tax rate has declined, but meanwhile, the average home price has nearly tripled. (Note: None of these figures were adjusted for inflation.) Unemployment generally went down after 1994 before the recent spike. The age of the average Ashevillean has ticked up from the late 30s to 40.

Asheville is also less partisan now — or at least less affiliated with the two major parties. The gap between Republicans and Democrats has remained roughly comparable to 1994, while the number of unaffiliated voters has skyrocketed: They now slightly outnumber registered Republicans.

All told, the city is larger, more populous, more expensive. Residents are (somewhat) better-paid, older, less partisan, more entrepreneurial and more likely to be unemployed than they were 15 years ago.

Oh, and did we mention there are nine times as many local breweries?

Welcome to Asheville.

Statistics from the city of Asheville, Buncombe County, the Buncombe County Board of Elections and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Statistic 1994 2009
Population (city) 66,500 76,000
Population (metro) 334,878 408,436
City area 38,243 sq. miles 45,238 sq. miles
Businesses 8,376 12,828
Manufacturing jobs 31,628 19,829
Income per capita
(not adjusted for inflation)
$20,070 $32,408
Average home sale price $107,569 $274,611
Average age 38 40
Percent unemployment 4.1 9.1
Number unemployed 6,847 18,976
City budget $60,170,903 $135,605,127
Property-tax rate 57 cents/$100 42 cents/$100
Democrats 58,808 76,587
Republicans 33,208 47,840
Unaffiliated 8,583 47,892
Breweries 1 9

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