Fastest Growing Metro Areas
Today, a press release from the U.S. Census Bureau announced which were America’s fastest growing metro areas. There are no major surprises here, other than that New Orleans is rapidly regrowing after losing much of its population in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It’s important to remember that these estimates are from July 1, 2008, before the stock market hit its lowest points to date and the economy fell into shambles. Thus, migrations away from areas where jobs are lacking (like the LA Metro Area and New York City) have likely changed some of these numbers, but aren’t reflected in data for mid-2008.
Here’s the press release:
Raleigh and Austin are Fastest-Growing Metro Areas
Raleigh-Cary, N.C., and Austin-Round Rock, Texas, were the nation’s
fastest-growing metro areas between 2007 and 2008, according to July 1,
2008, population estimates for the nation’s metropolitan and micropolitan
statistical areas and counties released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Raleigh-Cary saw its population climb 4.3 percent between July 1, 2007,
and July 1, 2008, to 1.1 million. Similarly, Austin-Round Rock experienced
a 3.8 percent increase, to 1.7 million. These two large metro areas were
among 47 of the 50 fastest-growing areas located entirely in the South or
West. (Table 1)
Large metro areas — those with 2008 populations of 1 million or more —
were home to
nine of the 10 fastest-growing counties. These metros included New Orleans,
St. Bernard Parish (the nation’s fastest-growing county between 2007 and
2008) and neighboring Orleans Parish (the country’s third-fastest-growing
county). The nation’s second-fastest-growing county in 2008 was Pinal in
Arizona (part of the Phoenix metro area).
The Chicago metro area was home to the fourth-fastest-growing county,
the Atlanta metro area was home to fifth-ranked Forsyth County. In Texas,
the Austin metro
area was the location of sixth-ranked Williamson and 10th-ranked Hays, San
eighth-ranked Kendall, and Dallas-Fort Worth includes ninth-ranked
Rockwall. Only seventh-ranked Geary, Kan., did not belong to a large metro
All in all, 94 of the 100 counties (with a population of 10,000 or more)
with the fastest population growth last year were in either the South (71
counties) or the West (23 counties). The remaining six were in the Midwest.
Four metro areas increased their populations by more than 100,000 people
from 2007 to 2008: Dallas-Fort Worth (147,000), Houston (130,000), Phoenix
(116,000) and Atlanta (115,000). Los Angeles (88,000) ranked fifth. (Table
3) Four of the five counties with the largest numeric gains were in one of
these metro areas: top-gaining Maricopa County, Ariz. (which accounted for
90,000 of the Phoenix metro gain), Harris County, Texas (contributing
72,000 of the Houston metro gain), Los Angeles County, Calif. (54,000 of
the Los Angeles metro gain) and Tarrant County, Texas (accounting for
41,000 of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro gain). (Table 4)
Among the 10 counties that added the largest number of residents during
four were in Southern California (Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and
Orange), three were in Texas (Harris, Tarrant and Bexar), and one each was
in Arizona (Maricopa), Nevada (Clark) and North Carolina (Wake).
Most Populous Metro Areas and Counties
The most populous metro areas on July 1, 2008, were New York (19.0
Los Angeles (12.9 million) and Chicago (9.6 million). (Table 5) Fourteen
metro areas had populations of 4 million or more. The most populous
counties were Los Angeles
(9.9 million), Cook (5.3 million and part of the Chicago metro) and Harris
(4.0 million and part of the Houston metro). Overall, 12 counties had
populations of 2 million or more. (Table 6)
As of July 1, 2008, the nation’s 363 metro areas contained 254.2 million
83.6 percent of the total population. Of these areas, 313 gained and 50
lost population between 2007 and 2008. Among the nation’s 3,142 counties,
1,974 gained population, 1,161 lost and seven remained unchanged.
– Among the 100 fastest-growing counties, the majority were in Texas (19),
Georgia (14), North Carolina (11) or Utah (nine).
– Texas was home to 10 counties among the 25 with the highest numerical
gains and California to six. Each of the top 25 was in the South or West,
with the exception of Cook, Ill. (Chicago).
– Five counties were among both the 25 fastest-growing and the 25 top
numerical gainers: Pinal, Ariz.; Orleans, La.; Williamson, Texas; Fort
Bend, Texas; and Wake, N.C.
– Four of the 10 fastest-growing metro areas were in Utah and Idaho:
Provo-Orem and St. George in Utah, Idaho Falls in Idaho, and Logan, which
encompasses parts of Utah and Idaho.
– The fastest-growing micro areas were Safford, Ariz., and Andrews, Texas,
growing by 4.1 and 4.0 percent, respectively.
– Twenty-seven of the 50 fastest-growing micro areas were in the South, 21
in the West and two in the Midwest.
– Overall, 397 of the 577 U.S. micro areas gained and 180 lost population
between 2007 and 2008.
– San Juan was the most populous metro area in Puerto Rico, at 2.6 million
in 2008. It also had the highest numeric gain on the island (8,600) from
2007 to 2008. The San Juan metro area contained the municipio with the
largest population in 2008 (San Juan, at 423,000), the one with the largest
numeric gain from 2007 to 2008 (Toa Alta, with 2,200) and the
fastest-growing (Florida, at 2.9 percent).
– Between April 1, 2000, and July 1, 2008, the fastest-growing metro area
was Palm Coast, Fla., increasing by 83.1 percent. (Its single county,
Flagler, was the second-fastest growing county.) Four western metro areas
(St. George, Utah; Provo-Orem, Utah; Greeley, Colo.; and Bend, Ore.)
rounded out the five fastest-growing metro areas. Three of the 10
fastest-growing metro areas had 2008 populations of 1 million or more:
Raleigh (sixth), Las Vegas (seventh) and Austin (10th).
– Four metro areas had numeric gains of more than 1 million over the
period: Dallas-Fort Worth (1.14 million), Atlanta (1.13 million), Phoenix
(1.03 million) and Houston (1.01 million). Riverside-San
Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., which gained 861,000, ranked fifth.
– Eight of the 10 fastest-growing counties between April 1, 2000, and July
1, 2008, were located in metro areas with 2008 populations of 2 million or
more. The exceptions were Flagler, Fla., and Lincoln, S.D. (a county within
the Sioux Falls metro area). The fastest-growing county during the period
was Kendall, Ill. (part of the Chicago metro area), which grew by 89.6
percent. Three of the top 10 counties were part of the Atlanta metro area:
Forsyth, sixth, at 70.8 percent; Paulding, eighth, at 63.2 percent; and
Henry, ninth, at 60.5 percent.
– The three counties with the largest numeric gains over the period were
found in top gaining metro areas: Maricopa, Ariz. (which contributed
882,000 of Phoenix’s gain); Harris, Texas (which accounted for 584,000 of
Houston’s gain); and Riverside, Calif. (contributing 555,000 of
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario’s gain).
– Maricopa’s gain since Census 2000 exceeded the population of six states.
The Census Bureau’s Internet tables show July 1 population estimates for
2000 through 2008, as well as the April 1, 2000, census counts. Also
included are rankings and estimates of components of population change
(births, deaths, net domestic migration and net international migration)
for all metro areas, micro areas and counties. The county-level data in
this news release on percent change apply only to those with total
populations of 10,000 or more.
The county and municipio resident population estimates are calculated using
administrative records to estimate components of population change, such as
births, deaths, domestic and international migration. The estimates reflect
changes to the Census 2000 population resulting from legal boundary
updates, other geographic program changes and Count Question Resolution
(CQR) actions. (The CQR Program was an administrative review program that
handled external challenges to particular official Census 2000 counts.)
All geographic boundaries for the July 1, 2008, population estimates series
are defined as of Jan. 1, 2008. The Office of Management and Budget’s
statistical area definitions (for metro and micro areas) are those issued
by that agency in November 2007. Metro areas contain at least one urbanized
area of 50,000 or more population and micro areas contain at least one
urban cluster of at least 10,000 (but less than 50,000) population. Both
metro and micro areas consist of one or more whole counties or county
equivalents. Some metro area titles are abbreviated in the text of the news
release. Full titles are shown in the tables.