April will be a big month for democracy, as elections take place in India, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Hungary, Indonesia, Algeria and Iraq – countries with total electorates of more than one billion people. In particular, the upcoming elections in India and Indonesia promise to be momentous, with more than 1 billion eligible voters, more than 1.5 million electronic voting machines and more than a million polling stations in India alone. In the video above, we asked TIME’s International Editor Bobby Ghosh for a preview of what we should know about the upcoming elections in the two countries.
Population growth and migratory patterns show a changing nation.
U.S. Census population figures released Thursday provide a glimpse of the nation’s hot (and cold) spots.
In a three-year span from mid-2010 to mid-2013, the U.S. had a natural population increase of 4.7 million people (that is, the number of births minus the number of deaths). Coupled with a net migration increase of some 2.7 million people, the country’s population jumped 7.4 million to an estimated 316 million.
Not all metro areas are growing at the same clip, however. Some are pulling ahead by drawing more immigrants or by luring residents of other regions with the promise job opportunities.
Which are the boomtowns? That depends on how you filter the data, but here are the highlights:
North Dakota metros surge
The state’s oil boom has bolstered some metro areas by double-digit percent growth. With a 31% population increase, Williston, N.D., beat out all U.S. metros by percent change. Nearby, the Dickinson, N.D., metro area grew 16%. All other U.S. metro areas fell in line thereafter.
“Any time before 2008, North Dakota had out-migration decade after decade,” says Kevin Iverson, Manager of North Dakota Census office. “People were leaving for economic opportunities outside the state.” But more recently, he says, the oil industry has bolstered both population and per-capita income in the western regions of the state. In the last three years, he adds, 38 of the state’s 53 counties have grown. Roughly half of the influx is from Minnesota.
Puerto Rico falls behind Where are residents moving away? Four of the ten U.S. metro areas with the greatest population losses (by number of people) are in Puerto Rico. Some of the population decline is attributed to lower birth rates on the island. But the more significant loss stems from a battered economy and pervasive crime – two factors that push out professionals, students and middle-class families to mainland states like Florida and Texas.
Texas draws a crowd Slice population data by migration (who’s moving in, domestically or internationally) and Texas metros top the charts. By total net migration, the Houston area drew some 205,000 people. Dallas came in third and Austin fifth among all U.S. metro areas. While foreign immigrants have bolstered the Lone Star state’s headcount, U.S. residents from all over the country – lured by job opportunities and lower taxes – have contributed to the surge.
Big metro areas stay on top By sheer influx of people, Houston, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles and Washington top the charts. Seven metro areas netted more than 200,000 people. San Francisco, Seattle and Phoenix, among others, also saw six-digit growth in the last three years.
Whether it's an oil boom or an influx of tech jobs, the populations of these 10 cities grew faster than in any other major metro area between July 2012 and July 2013, according to data from the Census Bureau.
Population: 1.9 million
% gain: 2.6%
New residents: 47,941
A thriving university town with one of the best live music scenes in the country, Austin’s youthful, creative vibe keeps people coming.
With it’s more than 250 live music venues and festivals like its famed South by Southwest (or SXSW) Austin’s “cultural vibrancy helps to drive the economy in a big way,” said demographer Ryan Robinson.
Another driver: Jobs.
Austin’s massive University of Texas, with its 50,000-plus enrollment, is known for its engineering and computer science programs, which have spawned many local tech businesses and incubators. It has also attracted a number of big tech companies — Apple , Google , Facebook , Intel — looking to recruit young talent.
In January, the city’s unemployment rate fell to 4.7%, the lowest of any metro area with a population of one million or more.
Population: 6.3 million
% gain: 2.2%
New residents: 137,782
Oil and gas have long kept Houston humming. Butthese days — with oil prices hovering around $100 a barrel — the city is booming.
“The recent oil surge going on in Texas is generating major job gains,” said Ray Perryman, a regional economist and founder of The Perryman Group.
But it’s not just the energy sector that’s hiring. A major port city, Houston is also home to several manufacturing, transportation, aerospace and medical research companies as well.
Newcomers will find homes affordable, too: The median home price in Houston is about $195,000, about $10,000 less than the national median.
Population: 1.2 million
% gain: 2.2%
New residents: 26,012
Along with the cities of Durham and Chapel Hill, Raleigh forms North Carolina’s Research Triangle, an area rich with tech companies and universities including Duke, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State.
The universities are not only among the area’s largest employers, but they also “add to the local quality of life by providing access to excellent healthcare, arts and sports,” said Harvey Schmitt, CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.
And in recent years, hiring has really picked up. In January, the unemployment rate was 5.5%, down nearly two percentage points from a year earlier.
Companies have plenty to entice new recruits with: Housing is affordable, only about 10% higher than the national norm, while incomes are nearly 20% higher.
Population: 2.3 million
% gain : 2%
New residents: 44,390
Mickey Mouse is making a comeback.
Orlando attracted 57 million visitors last year, up from 43 million in 2009.
Yet while nearly one-third of the area’s jobs are tied to the tourism industry, other industries are expanding here too, namely tech.
The city is a leader in the growing field of modeling and simulation. It’s also a major industrial site with Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Siemens all running production lines there.
And with median home prices of around $155,000, nearly every working family can afford to buy a home.
Population: 2.3 million
% gain : 1.9%
New residents: 43,056
San Antonio’s economy is still riding high thanks, in part, to the oil boom. Valero Energy , one of the nation’s largest oil companies, is based here, as are a handful of other oil and energy services firms like Tesoro Corp . and NuStar Energy .
The local economy, though, is still well diversified, with healthcare, tourism, financial services and call centers major sources of jobs. And Joint Base San Antonio, one of the largest military installations in the country, hosts 80,000 residents and trains some 130,000 military personnel a year.
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In January, the metro area unemployment rate was 5.4%, more than a percentage point below the national average.
San Antonio is also a young city, which is also helping to boost the local population, said Lloyd Potter of the Institute for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research University of Texas at San Antonio. “We have fewer deaths because we’re young and more births as well,” he said.
Population: 2.7 million
% gain : 1.9%
New residents: 50,782
Great skiing, biking and hiking are just some of the reasons people flock to the Mile-High City.
“People see Colorado as a place for opportunity,” said state demographer Elizabeth Garner. And when they arrive, it’s not too hard to find one.
Area employment grew nearly 3% in 2013 thanks to hiring in sectors such as mining and energy, construction, professional and business services, and education and healthcare services, according to Denver’s Metro Area Economic Development Corporation. Some of the area’s biggest employers include Halliburton , Comcast and CenturyLink .
And while unemployment is still just a few ticks lower than the national average, it’s improving fast. In January, the unemployment rate fell to 6.4% from 7.8% the year before.
Home prices, at a median of $259,000, aren’t exactly cheap, but they are affordable relative to median family income of nearly $78,000.
Population: 1.8 million
% gain : 1.8%
New residents: 31,153
A thriving music industry, a host of big healthcare employers and a burgeoning start-up scene have made Nashville a hotspot for several years.
The city’s famed Music Row, with its record companies, music publishers, clubs and guitar shops, is where some of the city’s 20,000 music industry jobs can be found.
Yet, many more of the area’s residents work in the much less-glitzy field of healthcare.
“About half of all the for-profit hospital beds in the country are administered from Nashville,” said Matthew Wiltshire, head of Nashville’s department of economic and community development. “Healthcare is a $30 billion industry here.”
Another big attraction: the reasonable cost of living, which is 14% less than the national average, according to Wiltshire.
Population: 2.3 million
% gain : 1.8%
New residents: 40,368
The second biggest banking center in the country behind New York, Charlotte is home toBank of America , and hosts offices for Citi , Ally Financial , JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo .
And new jobs are being created, many through spin-offs of these financial behemoths, said John Connaughton, Babson Capital Professor of Economics at University of North Carolina Charlotte.
He said many former employees of the big banks have founded financial consulting firms and other small financial services businesses.
But don’t think that the area is solely about suits and money. NASCAR has multiple offices in the area as well.
Population: 1.3 million
% gain : 1.7%
New residents: 22,280
Like many cities in Texas and North Dakota, Oklahoma City is also in the midst of an oil boom.
The expansion of horizontal drilling and fracking has made it possible to tap into vast reserves that remained untouched before — meaning lots of oil money and lots of jobs.
“As the amount of drilling goes up, demand for services, like finishing off well heads, laying pipeline and cleaning up site, increases as well,” said Don Hackler, public information officer with the state’s Commerce Department.
As a result, people are flocking to the area to find work: The greater Oklahoma City has seen its population grow by more than 5% since the 2010 Census.
And so far, there appears to be almost enough jobs for everyone. In January, the metro area unemployment rate was just 5%, a full two percentage points below the national rate.
Population: 4.4 million
% gain : 1.6%
New residents: 71,130
Phoenix is starting to rise from the ashes of the housing bust.
After being one of the hardest hit cities during the foreclosure crisis, home prices have come roaring back. Construction workers idled during the housing bust are back at work rehabbing foreclosed homes and other distressed properties so they can be put back on the market or rented out.
Other jobs are coming back, too, in industries like renewable energy, aerospace, bio-med and business services, according to the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. And recentlyApple announced it would build a plant in nearby Mesa that would employ more than 2,000 workers.
Still, unemployment remains relatively high. In January, the unemployment rate was 6.7% — about on par with the national level — and about 0.8 percentage points lower than last year.
DuPont has long been known as a chemical company, but Kullman is shifting the 211-year-old corporation towards innovation and agriculture
There’s never a bad time to be named CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but when Ellen Kullman took over the 211-year-old DuPont at the beginning of 2009, things could have been better. The global economy was tanking, sales were dropping and the future was hazy. Fast forward five years later, though, and DuPont is surging. Kullman has transitioned the company away from some of its traditional fields—including the performance chemicals business, best known for its nonstick frying pans and paints—and towards higher growth sectors in high-tech agriculture and nutrition. That shift has worked so far—last month DuPont announced that its fourth-quarter profits had doubled on the back of brisk sales of high-tech seeds and pesticides. I spoke recently with Kullman about the changes at one of America’s iconic companies, the global demographic shifts driving them and the big business of feeding the world’s 7 billion-plus people
TIME: You have been spinning off some business, investing in new ones. How do you see the company changing and what is driving those changes?
Kullman: I started right in the midst of the global financial crisis, so volumes were falling, and the world was not a very secure place. That gave me an opportunity to reflect on the portfolio, to reflect on how science was making a difference for us, how we were connecting to the market. We evolved to a strategy that is focused on science, and ag and nutrition, extending our advanced materials area and then really bringing to life areas like industrial biosciences that I was engaged in over a decade ago.
The more I travel around the globe, the more I’m convinced that this strategy is going to lead to higher growth, higher value, greater shareholder value, because of the amount of change that is going on in the world today. We started in sustainability 20 years ago. That’s three CEOs ago. Basically then it was all about footprint reduction. You think about it now with the stressors on the world, sustainability is really important for the future of civilization, if you think about the climate, if you think about food and energy. And we think science can play a huge role in solving some of these problems, in a way that creates shareholder value. We’re much more energy efficient today than we were a decade ago, and we saved billions of dollars by not spending it on energy. But more importantly we can help airframe manufacturers lighten their vehicles or planes, and get higher efficiency out of the energy they’re using. We can help farmers utilize water much more efficiently, like through our AquaMax product, to increase yields in water stressed conditions
TIME: When it comes to ag and science and technology, and especially when it comes to biotech, you see different levels of public acceptance in different countries. How do you deal with the concern people might have for the impacts of bioscience agriculture, which is so basic to human life?
Kullman: I’m believe that countries and people make choices for themselves about what science they accept or don’t accept. And it should be fact based, so they understand [the science] and make those decisions. We as a company need to be relevant whether they choose to utilize the technology or not. I believe in the science. When you think about GMOs, I spend a lot of time on them, and I understand them. But I understand that my telling people on faith may not carry the day. They need to see it, understand it, [and we need to] arm them with facts, educate them, and let them make their choices.
We have a large business in agriculture in non-GMO seed in Europe [where GMO technology is less accepted]. We’ll be relevant there, regardless of the technology choices they make. We’ll ensure that they have the right studies and tests done to help that.
TIME: How do you deal with the differing regulation on this issue around the world, on biotech and on things like biofuel, where policy has a big impact on how the business grows?
Kullman: We are operating in an increasingly regulated world. We would certainly love to see a more harmonized regulatory environment around the world, to see that getting something approved in India is the same as getting it approved in America or China. That’s just more efficient. But I do think that we do have to participate in the process from a regulatory standpoint. We workwith different governments around the world to share information and to inform them, so when they consider laws and regulations, they do so from a standpoint of data and information that helps them make the right decision.
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TIME: Within agriculture, you mentioned this enormous demand coming from parts of the developing world, and this yield gap, between what farms can do in Iowa versus farms in places like eastern Europe or sub-Saharan Africa. Is the aim eventually that farming in those parts of the world will come to resemble farming in America, or will there still be regional differences?
Kullman: Food is phenomenally local, and there are cultural differences that you have to comprehend. We need a common language, because people talk about this area in so many different ways. In the fall I was in an area in northeast China, above North Korea, part of the corn belt there. You drive along a road and you’re seeing an area that looks damn close to what you might find in the rolling hills [of Iowa], and then you find out the corn is all hand sown and hand harvested. That each farmer owns or gets the ability to farm a certain number of mous—about a tenth of an acre. And you go sit with a farmer or a family and you talk about farming, and they’re doing pretty well under their historic methodology in farming that is very labor intensive. But they know that has to change, and they know they need to mechanize. And that is very different there than what you’d find in India, or in Tanzania. It will always be different, but there’s a big gap that can be crossed from a productivity standpoint in agriculture that shouldn’t be lost on us. And I think it creates huge economic opportunity in places like sub-Saharan Africa, as farmers go from subsistence farming to farming with an income.
TIME: You mentioned sustainability as a big part of what you do. That word has a lot of different meaning for a lot of different people. When you say sustainability, what does it mean? Is it just efficiency or does it go beyond that?
Kullman: Sustainable means selecting for a long time, so [what you produce] can withstand the rigors of the world, while allowing the environment to continue to be plentiful and grow. I think that whole area is evolving greatly, and as the regulatory environment changes, people become concerned about how the future looks, and the part that each of us plays. There’s real opportunity. Think about cellulosic biofuels. First generation biofuels are in use, but what’s really sustainable are second or third generation biofuels that utilize plant waste and things like that. This is an area that is not just something to do to create real value for our customers and for our company going forward. We don’t have all the answers but I think there’s a lot of opportunity there.