Eight of the nation’s top 10 fastest-growing large cities (100,000 or more population) since Census 2000 lie in the Western states of Arizona, Nevada and California, according to new U.S. Census Bureau population estimates for July 1, 2003.

Gilbert, Ariz., a suburban community, south of Phoenix, of 145,250 people, led the list with a growth rate of 32 percent in the 39-month period between April 1, 2000, and July 1, 2003. It was followed by North Las Vegas (25 percent) and Henderson (23 percent), both in Nevada’s Clark County. Henderson, with a population gain of 39,446, ranked eighth in the nation in numerical increase.

Rounding out the 10 fastest-growing large cities were Chandler, Ariz.; Irvine, Calif.; Port St. Lucie, Fla.; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Fontana, Calif.; Peoria, Ariz.; and Cape Coral, Fla.

New York City continued to be the nation’s most populous city, with 8.1 million residents. The estimates show that among the 10 largest cities, only one change has occurred in the rankings since Census 2000: Dallas and San Antonio switched places, with San Antonio now ranking eighth and Dallas ninth.

Los Angeles, the second most populous city at 3.8 million, had the largest population increase, adding 125,209 people since Census 2000.

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