According to recent U.S. Census Bureau data released on Thursday, all but one of America’s 20 largest cities witnessed a surge in population growth in 2015. Metropolises like Denver, Houston, and Austin were the biggest winners, seeing the most significant growths. 15 of the cities that garnered the highest number of people between 2014 and 2015 were located in the South or West, and the only exception was New York City.
As USA Today reports, the growth in America’s largest cities reached a 5-year low of 1.03 percent in 2015; but, this was still double the average annual growth rate of 0.56 percent that these cities witnessed from 2000-2010.
Demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution in Washington agrees with this assessment.
“We’ve seen there’s been a decline in the growth level of some cities, but it’s still the case that cities are growing rapidly in this decade compared to last decade.”
Denver moved up two places to become America’s 19th city with a population of 682,545. The city saw a spike of 2.8 percent from the previous year, the biggest jump than any other city in the U.S. The Mile High City has an unemployment rate of 3.3 percent, but a highly competitive housing market where reasonably priced housing is getting difficult by the day.
CEO Kelly Brough of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce likens the clamor for affordable housing to the gold rush of Colorado.
“People want two things as they make a decision of where to live these days. They want a good job and they want a great quality life. Back in my day, you would have been willing to sacrifice quality of life for a good job. Today, this generation is saying, ‘No I want both.’”
Seattle became the 18th biggest city in America, adding over 15,000 residents in 2015.
New York City added 55,000 to its previous population of over 8.5 million inhabitants on July 1, 2015, the majority of the growth coming from Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx boroughs. Los Angeles, the second largest city in the U.S,. swelled up with 34,000 people. The largest city in the country, Houston, increased their numbers with over 40,000 residents last year.
In the same vein, several big cities and suburbs in Texas saw significant increases in the past year. The state was home to five of the eight cities that saw a prevalent number in new residents. The cities are Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Austin and of course Houston. The greater Austin metro area, which is home to over 2 million people, enlarged their ranks by 3.7 percent in 2015, more than any other metro area in the U.S.
However, there were exceptions. In the 82 largest cities in the country, which comes to a collective population of more than 59 million people, 11 cities saw their population reduced. According to the Census Bureau data, Detroit lost over 3,100 residents, a number that allowed the city to fall from the 18th biggest city in the U.S. to the 21st.
Chicago, which had a steady population growth of over 25,000 inhabitants between 2010 and 2014, had 2,900 relocating to other places. The rot in Chicago has seen credit ratings plummet, bogged down by an avalanche of debt and $20 billion inadequate public workers’ pensions. All in all, Cook County, which includes Chicago and many of its older suburbs, lost 10,500 residents between 2014 and 2015.
Senior demographer Kenneth Johnson of the University of New Hampshire in a research note, revealed that “though these patterns are still a far cry from those during the pre-recessionary period, when Chicago lost a significant amount of population and the other suburbs boomed, they do reflect an end to more rapid city than suburban gains.”
[Image via Shutterstock/Philip Lange]