Wow, I’m amazed. I read some bit of promotional/informational bumf about Austin that was part of the hotel room furniture, and goggled at the bit that said Austin is #14 among US cities in population. What?! thought I. That can’t be right. There are too many other bigger cities in the way – Seattle being one.
But you know what? I’m wrong. I have a vague memory of Seattle being at about 17 or 19, but now I think about it that was probably decades ago. Anyway sure enough, as of 2010 (the last census) Austin is at 14; Seattle is at 23.
That still feels surprising. Austin’s downtown is weirdly diffuse, vertical only in spots. It has these shiny new condo towers but they’re all isolated. I went past all the super-tall ones west of Congress Avenue yesterday and they are bizarre – they sprout up in a nowhere-land, as if built after a bombing raid. No shops and fellow condos next door, but empty lots and the back of the power station.
And the airport is tiny. Ok, so I managed to figure that out…Seattle is in a very urbanized county, and maybe Austin isn’t, or maybe SeaTac is a hub and Austin isn’t, or maybe both. Anyway – thus we learn that my talent for seat of the pants demographics-estimation is nil.
I was surprised by a lot of the cities in the top 20. San Antonio! Jacksonville! Indianapolis!! (Indianapolis?! Seriously? How did that happen? Not St Louis or Minneapolis or Cleveland, but Indianapolis. Dang. I had no idea.)