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10 Cities With The Biggest Population Change In The 2010s

Elizabeth Balboa

U.S. population growth slowed from an annual average of 0.97% in the 2000s to 0.66% in the 2010s, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Natural increase — the extent to which births outpaced deaths — accounted for more growth than did immigration, but both metrics weakened year-by-year.

Whatever growth occurred in the last decade did not affect all states evenly or even proportionately. Recent trends have favored suburban areas in southern states.

In 2019, Americans migrated to warmer and more affordable metro areas,  Phoenix, Dallas and Las Vegas among them. Populations declined in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Various analyses of the 2010 to 2018 census data offer different framing of the population shift. According to Stacker, the fastest-growing cities were:

  • Frisco, Texas (59.7%)
  • Enterprise, Nevada (57.6%)
  • Lehigh Acres, Florida (53.4%)
  • Sugar Land, Texas (49.3%)
  • McKinney, Texas (45%)
  • Meridian, Idaho (41.8%)
  • San Tan Valley, Arizona (41.3%)
  • Kent, Washington (39.8%)
  • Pearland, Texas (36.9%)
  • Riverview, Florida (35.5%)

According to 24/7 Wall St., the fastest-shrinking metropolitan populations between 2010 and 2017 were:

  • Pine Bluff, Arizona (9.1%)
  • Johnstown, Pennsylvania (7.2%)
  • Charleston, West Virginia (5.5%)
  • Sierra Vista-Douglas, Arizona (5.3%)
  • Beckley, West Virginia (5.1%)
  • Weirton-Steubenville, West Virginia and Ohio (4.9%)
  • Danville, Illinois (4.6%)
  • Wheeling, West Virginia and Ohio (4.5%)
  • Decatur, Illinois (4.5%)
  • Cumberland, Maryland and West Virginia (4.2%)

The Brookings Institution found that explosive urban growth at the beginning of the decade slowed or altogether reversed as the economy improved, mortgage rates declined and the housing market reaccelerated.

Growth for cities with populations exceeding 250,000 fell from 1.21% at the beginning of the period to 0.69% in 2018.

Some economists expect the upcoming Generation Z to own homes at a higher rate than Millennials have. That housing trend could exacerbate the urban-suburban split and affect domestic migration going forward.

Photo of Sugar Land, Texas by Ed Schipul via Wikimedia. 

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