Eight Top 50 Markets Move Up In New Nielsen Rankings.


The Atlanta radio market continues to gain population and climb the market rankings ladder. The epicenter of music, culture and politics in the South moves up one position to No. 7, passing Washington, DC in Nielsen’s new Fall 2020 market survey rankings. With a metro population that now exceeds 5 million, Atlanta has a slight population lead over Washington, which slips from No. 7 to No. 8.


The two cities are the only ones to change market rank in the top 10.


Outside the top 10, Detroit drops one position to No. 14, as its population continues to decline. The growing Sunbelt metropolis of Phoenix rises from 15th to take its place.


Puerto Rico also moves up a position to No. 18, bumping Denver down to No. 19, even as the Mile High City is growing in population. Charlotte-Gastonia Rock Hill, meanwhile, advances two positions to No. 21, leap-frogging past Baltimore (22-23) and Portland, OR (21-22). Pittsburgh, in turn, drops two ranks to No. 31 as Orlando (30-29) and Las Vegas (31-30) advance.


As with Atlanta and Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham is another fast-growing southern city, averaging 2% population growth during the past four years. In the fall Nielsen rankings, Raleigh is No. 37, up from No. 38 in Spring and pushing San Jose down one slot to No. 38. Another growth center in the Carolinas is Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, which pushes up a position to No. 47, surpassing West Palm Beach (47-48) which is also growing but at a slower rate.


Outside the top 50, markets that gained ground include Richmond (53-52), Ft. Myers (57-56), Tulsa (65-64), Knoxville (73-72), Charleston, SC (79-76), Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL (83-82), Boise (92-86) and Madison (93-92).


The new rankings are based on population updates from Claritas. New numbers from Census 2020 aren’t expected to be released by the U.S. government until spring 2021.

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