New Patterns of Growth Nationwide.

Among the 50 fastest-growing metro areas over the last decade, only 24 of them were also among the 50 fastest growing since the 2010 Census. This is according to the first set of U.S. Census Bureau metropolitan statistical area, micropolitan statistical area and county population estimates to be published since the official 2010 Census population counts were released a year ago.

“Our nation is constantly changing, and these estimates provide us with our first measure of how much substate areas have grown or declined in total population since Census Day, April 1, 2010,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said. “We’re already seeing different patterns of population growth than we saw in the last decade.”

According to the new July 1, 2011, population estimates released today, the relative growth of many of the nation’s 366 metro areas in the 15-month period from April 2010 to July 2011 differed markedly from that observed between 2000 and 2010. One such example was Palm Coast, Fla., which was the fastest-growing metro area between 2000 and 2010, but fell to 55th place between 2010 and 2011. Similarly, Las Vegas, the third fastest-growing metro area between 2000 and 2010, fell to 151st place. Some metro areas showed less change: St. George, Utah, the second fastest-growing metro area between 2000 and 2010, dropped only to 11th place.

Conversely, New Orleans, which experienced the greatest percentage loss between 2000 and 2010, was 35th in metro area percentage growth between 2010 and 2011. Besides New Orleans, there were nine metro areas that were not among the 100 fastest growing between 2000 and 2010 but were among the 50 fastest growing from 2010 to 2011: Hinesville-Fort Stewart, Ga.; Columbus, Ga.-Ala.; Odessa, Texas; Fayetteville, N.C.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Bismarck, N.D.; Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla.; Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss.; and Hattiesburg, Miss.

Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Wash., and Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, Texas, were the nation’s two fastest-growing metro areas between 2010 and 2011, with population increases of 4.3 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.

Solid Growth in Texas Continues

Although new patterns of growth have emerged since the 2010 Census, some trends persist from the last decade. One such example is the growth in Texas. There were five large metro areas (2011 populations of at least 1 million) among the 20 fastest growing from 2010 to 2011. Four of them were in Texas: Austin (second), San Antonio (16th), Dallas-Fort Worth (17th) and Houston (18th). (Raleigh-Cary, N.C., was the fifth such area.)

Looking at numeric growth, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston added more people between 2010 and 2011 than any other metro area (155,000 and 140,000, respectively). These two metro areas were the biggest numeric gainers during the 2000 to 2010 period (with Houston gaining more than Dallas-Fort Worth over the decade).

Another trend that persisted: nearly all of the fastest-growing metro areas from 2010 to 2011 (46 of 50) were located either entirely or partially in the South or West.

North Dakota and New Mexico Now Home to Many High-Growth Micro Areas

The nation’s fastest-growing micro area between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011, was Williston, N.D., which grew by 8.8 percent. Two other North Dakota micro areas, Dickinson (fourth) and Minot (eighth), also were among the 10 fastest growing. New Mexico contained more micro areas among the 50 fastest growing (six) than any other state: Gallup (11th), Portales (12th), Alamogordo (13th), Clovis (15th), Grants (34th) and Los Alamos (42nd).

None of these nine North Dakota and New Mexico micro areas was among the 50 fastest growing between 2000 and 2010. (Overall, only 18 of the 50 fastest-growing micro areas nationwide between 2010 and 2011 were also among the 50 fastest growing between 2000 and 2010.)

Midwestern Counties Among 10 Fastest Growing

Of the 10 fastest-growing counties in the nation between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011, two were in the upper Midwest: Williams, N.D., which ranked third, and Dallas, Iowa, which was seventh. Another was in the Pacific Northwest: Franklin, Wash., which was fifth. Two county equivalents in Virginia, the independent cities of Manassas Park and Fredericksburg, checked in at fourth and sixth, respectively.

The presence of St. Bernard (second) and Orleans (ninth) in Louisiana among the 10 fastest-growing counties provides evidence that the New Orleans area continues to rebound from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Rounding out the top 10 were Charlton, Ga. (first); Hoke, N.C. (eighth) and Williamson, Texas (10th). None of these 10 counties was among the 10 fastest growing from 2000 to 2010.

The top 10 numeric gainers were all in the Sun Belt, with four in Texas: Harris, Dallas, Bexar, and Tarrant. Another four were in Southern California: Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and San Diego. Rounding out the list were Maricopa, Ariz. and Miami-Dade, Fla.

Other highlights:

Metro areas

–As of July 1, 2011, the nation’s 366 metro areas contained 261.1 million people — 83.8 percent of the total population.

–Houston surpassed the 6 million population mark between 2010 and 2011.

–Six metro areas increased their populations by more than 100,000 people from 2010 to 2011: Dallas-Fort Worth (155,000), Houston (140,000), Washington, D.C. (122,000), New York (119,000), Los Angeles (116,000) and Miami-Fort Lauderdale (105,000).

–The most populous metro areas on July 1, 2011, were New York (19.0 million), Los Angeles (12.9 million) and Chicago (9.5 million). Fourteen metro areas had populations of 4 million or more.

Micro Areas

–As of July 1, 2011, the nation’s 576 micro areas contained 31.0 million people — 10 percent of the total population.

–Twenty-one of the 50 fastest-growing micro areas between 2010 and 2011 were in the South, 17 in the West, 11 in the Midwest and one in the Northeast.

–Four micro areas were both among the 10 fastest growing and the 10 highest numeric gaining between 2010 and 2011: The Villages, Fla.; Dunn, N.C.; Statesboro, Ga.; and Minot, N.D.

–The most populous micro area was Seaford, Del., with a 2011 population of 200,000, followed by Hilton Head Island-Beaufort, S.C., and Torrington, Conn. (190,000 and 189,000, respectively). Overall, 47 micro areas had 2011 populations of 100,000 or more, compared with 45 as of 2010.


–Among the 50 fastest-growing counties from 2010 to 2011, 38 were in the South, with the remaining 12 split equally between the Midwest and West. Texas contained more of these counties than any other state, with 12. Georgia was next, with nine, followed by Virginia (seven), and North Dakota and North Carolina (tied with three apiece).

–Texas was home to eight of the 25 counties with the highest numerical gains and California to six. All but two were in the South or West: Kings, N.Y. (Brooklyn) and Cook, Ill. (Chicago).

–The three fastest-growing counties from 2000 to 2010 were Kendall, Ill.; Pinal, Ariz.; and Flagler, Fla. Between 2010 and 2011, they ranked 236th, 171st and 207th, respectively.

–Los Angeles was the most populous county, with 9.9 million residents on July 1, 2011.

In the coming months, the Census Bureau will release 2011 estimates of the total population of incorporated places, as well as national, state and county population estimates by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin.

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