Americans seem to be migrating to Southern cities. That’s the word from the Census Bureau, which reveals that 8 of the 15 cities or towns with the largest gains in population between 2016 and 2017 were located in the South. Furthermore, 10 of the 15 fastest-growing large cities on a percentage basis were also located in the South, per the Census Bureau’s data.
The list of fastest-growing large cities (on a numeric basis) is led by San Antonio, which added more than 24,000 residents between July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017. It now ranks as the 7th-most populous city in the US as of July 1, 2017, with more than 1.5 million residents.
San Antonio is followed by Phoenix, which also added more than 24,000 people. It ranks as the 5th-most populous, with more than 1.6 million people.
Rounding out the top 5 fastest-growing large cities on a numeric basis were Dallas (+18,935 to 1,341,075), Fort Worth City (+18,664 to 874,168) and Los Angeles. With its addition of 18,643 people (to reach a population size of almost 4 million, second only behind New York City’s 8.6 million), Los Angeles is the only large city other than Phoenix to rank among the 5 most-populous and the 5 fastest-growing.
(Large cities are defined as those with populations of at least 50,000 in 2016.)
Meanwhile, Fort Worth’s growth placed it ahead of Indianapolis to crack the top 15 most populous cities as of July 1, 2017.
Fastest-Growing Cities by Percentage Change
Five of the 15 fastest-growing large cities by numeric increase are in Texas, and the state shines even more brightly when considering the fastest-growing large cities by percentage change.
Indeed, 7 of the top 15 fastest-growing cities by percentage change are located in Texas. Frisco tops the charts, with an 8.2% increase to 177,286. It’s followed by New Braunfels (+8%) and Pflugerville (+6.5%), with Ankeny in Iowa (+6.4%) and Buckeye in Arizona (+5.9%) rounding out the top 5.
The average population growth in the US as a whole, for context, was 0.7%.
Americans Migrate to the South and the West
Regardless of the population size of the area, the South and the West had the largest percentage increases in population between 2016 and 2017, per the report.
In areas with population less than 5,000 in 2016, the West led the way with an average 0.9% increase in population, with the South the only other region featuring an increase (+0.2%) in population for those areas.
In areas with population of 5-10,000 the West (+1.5%) and South (+0.9%) again led the way in average population change, as they did in areas with population of 10-50,000 (+1.2% and +1.1%, respectively).
Finally, in large areas with populations of 50,000 or more the South topped all regions with an average population growth of 1.2%, with large areas in the West seeing an average of 1% growth.
The US: “A Nation of Small Towns”
While the Census Bureau highlighted growth in large cities (which represent 3.9% of all cities), it also noted that most incorporated places in the US are much smaller.
As of July 1, 2017, close to two-thirds (62.9%) of the US population lived within an incorporated place, which is defined as “a self-governing city, town, or village.” Of the roughly 19,500 incorporated places in the US, about three-quarters (76%) had fewer than 5,000 people, and almost half had fewer than 1,000 people.
More details can be found in the Census Bureau’s release, here.