A child born in Charleston this year might retire in a metropolitan area of more than 3 million people. How do I know that? Simple math.

Sixty years ago, there were about 200,000 people in the metropolitan area. There are now well over 700,000 people living here. This equates to a growth rate of a little more than 2 percent per year since 1958.

Using the Rule of 72 algorithm, a 2 percent growth rate applied to our current metro population equates to 1.5 million residents in 36 years and more than 3 million residents in 72 years. Exacerbating the issue is the fact that the Charleston area is growing much faster than 2 percent per year.

A 3 percent growth rate doubles our metro population every 24 years, while a 4 percent rate doubles it every 18 years. So while we are debating how and where to build all the roads, mass transit and bike paths that we needed 10 years ago, we need to face facts and realize what lies ahead. And start planning for it today.

Tom Di Figlio

Duck Hawk Retreat