Southern Cities Continue To Dominate U.S. Growth

Ten of the 15 fastest-growing large cities in the U.S. were located across the South in 2016, with four of the top five in Texas. 

The South boasted 10 of the 15 fastest-growing large U.S. cities in 2016, with four of the top five in Texas, according to new population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

populationConroe, TX (near Houston), was the fastest-growing large city (population of 50,000 or more) between 2015 and 2016 at 7.8 percent, making its growth rate more than 11 times the nation’s growth rate of 0.7 percent. Among the other fastest-growing cities were Frisco, TX (6.2 percent); McKinney, TX (5.9 percent); Greenville, SC (5.8 percent); and Georgetown, TX (5.5 percent).

“Overall, cities in the South continue to grow at a faster rate than any other U.S region,” said Amel Toukabri, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s population division. “Since the 2010 Census, the population in large southern cities grew by an average of 9.4 percent. In comparison, cities in the West grew 7.3 percent, while cities in the Northeast and Midwest had much lower growth rates at 1.8 percent and 3.0 percent respectively.”

Four cities in the West — Bend, OR; Buckeye, AZ; Lehi, UT; and Meridian, ID — were among the top 15 fastest growing. Only one city in the Midwest, Ankeny, IA, topped the list while no cities in the Northeast were among the nation’s fastest growing.

New York remains America’s largest city by a wide margin. Its July 1, 2016, population of 8.5 million makes it more than twice as large as the next largest city, Los Angeles, with a population of about 4 million. Despite a population loss of 8,638, Chicago remains the third-largest city, with a population of 2.7 million.

Phoenix, AZ had the largest numeric increase of any city, by adding 32,113 (about 88 people per day on average) between 2015 and 2016