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Southern Cities on the Rise

Out of the 15 fastest growing cities in the country, 10 are located in the South, according to new population data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday. Four of the top five are in Texas.

The No. 1 fastest-growing city between 2015 and 2016 was Conroe, Texas—situated just outside the Houston limits. With a 7.8 percent annual growth rate, its population outpaced the country’s 11 to one. The national growth rate for the year was just 0.7 percent.

Rounding out the top five fastest growing cities were Frisco, Texas (6.2 percent year-over-year growth rate); McKinney, Texas (5.9 percent); Greenville, South Carolina (5.8 percent); and Georgetown, Texas (5.5 percent).

Populations in the Southern U.S. have been rise since the last Census in 2010, according to Amel Toukabri, a demographer with the Census Bureau’s population division.

"Overall, cities in the South continue to grow at a faster rate than any other U.S region," Toukabri said. "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 percent, respectively."

The West was also home to a large portion of the nation’s fastest growing cities, with Bend, Oregon; Buckeye, Arizona; Lehi, Utah; and Meridian, Idaho, all making the top 15. No cities in the Northeast region made the list, while just one Midwestern town—Ankeny, Iowa—notched a spot.

The new Census data also revealed the country’s 15 most populated cities, which have remained unchanged since 2015. Columbus, Ohio, did pass up Indianapolis, however, coming in at No. 14 with a population of 860,000-plus.

New York was again the country’s biggest city, with 8.5 million residents, with Los Angeles and Chicago rounding out the top three. Phoenix, Arizona, saw the biggest population increase of all cities, adding about 88 residents per day.

When it comes to small towns, the Northeast saw the most population decline, dropping by 0.5 percent between 2015 and 2016. Small Midwestern cities saw populations dip by 0.3 percent, while small towns in the South and West both grow, rising 0.2 percent and 0.89 percent, respectively.

From a housing standpoint, the market saw inventory grow by 911,000 in 2016—up 0.7 percent over the year. That growth rate is just half of its peak, reached in 2007.

About Author: Aly J. Yale

Profile photo of Aly J. Yale
Aly J. Yale is a longtime writer and editor from Texas. Her resume boasts positions with The Dallas Morning News, NBC, PBS, and various other regional and national publications. She has also worked with both the Five Star Institute and REO Red Book, as well as various other mortgage industry clients on content strategy, blogging, marketing, and more.


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