North Las Vegas, Nev., was the fastest-growing city in the U.S. from July 1, 2005, to July 1, 2006, among cities with a population of 100,000 or more, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released this week.

The city of North Las Vegas grew 11.9 percent, from a population of 176,527 in July 2005 to 197,567 in July 2006, according to the report.

McKinney, Texas, was next on the list with 11.1 percent growth, followed by Port St. Lucie, Fla., with 9.9 percent growth; Cape Coral, Fla., 8.1 percent; Gilbert, Ariz., 7.8 percent; Grand Prairie, Texas, 6.6 percent; Peoria, Ariz., 5.8 percent; Cary, N.C., 5.1 percent; Denton, Texas, 5.1 percent; and Lancaster, Calif., at 5 percent.

Phoenix, with an estimated population of 1.5 million as of July 1, 2006, became the nation’s fifth most populous city, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released this week, passing Philadelphia on the list. This is “the latest evidence of a decades-long population shift,” the Census Bureau reported.

And while Phoenix ranked 30th among the fastest-growing cities with a 2.9 growth rate from July 2005 to July 2006, the city had the largest volume gain in population during that period — an increase of 43,192 people.

San Antonio was second on the list for its July 2005-July 2006 population gain, with a growth of 33,084 residents. Next on the list was Fort Worth, Texas, with a gain of 30,201; Houston, Texas, up 26,554; North Las Vegas, Nev., up 21,040; Austin, Texas, up 18,630; Miami, Fla., up 17,429; Dallas, Texas, up 16,676; Charlotte, N.C., up 14,403; and San Jose, Calif., up 14,268.

Seven of the 25 fastest-growing communities from July 2005-July 2006 were in California, five were in Texas, four were Florida and three were in Arizona. Three of the 25 slowest-growing communities during that period were in California, three were in Michigan, three were in New York and three were in Ohio.

Seventy-seven of 257 cities on the list, or 30 percent, had population losses from July 1, 2005, to July 1, 2006, according to Census data.

New Orleans had by far the largest population loss among all cities with populations of at least 100,000 people from July 2005-July 2006, losing about half of its pre-Hurricane Katrina population, the Census Bureau reported. The city’s population dropped 50.6 percent, from 452,170 on July 1, 2005, to 223,388 on July 1, 2006, the report notes.

Hialeah, Fla., had the second-highest rate of loss during that period with a 1.6 percent population decline for the period, followed by St. Louis, Mo., and Beaumont, Texas, with a 1.5 percent decline; Detroit and Cleveland, with a 1.4 percent decline; Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Toledo, with a 1.1 percent decline; and Salinas, Calif.; Provo, Utah; Flint, Mich.; and Boston, with a 1 percent decline.

New York remained the most populous city in the country, with an estimated 8.21 million residents as of July 1, 2006. Los Angeles was next on the list with 3.85 million, followed by Chicago with 2.83 million, Houston with 2.14 million, Phoenix with 1.51 million, Philadelphia with 1.45 million, San Antonio with 1.3 million, San Diego with 1.26 million, Dallas with 1.23 million, and San Jose with 929,936 residents.

In 1910, each of the 10 most populous cities was within roughly 500 miles of the Canadian border, the Census report states. But that trend has shifted south, according to the report — the 2006 estimates reveal that seven of the top 10 and three of the top five most populous cities are in states that border Mexico.

New York, Chicago and Philadelphia are the only three cities among 1910’s top-10 most populous cities that remain on that list in 2006, the report states. Phoenix, San Jose, and San Diego, which are on the 2006 top-10 list, “were not even among the 100 most populous in 1910,” while Dallas, Houston and San Antonio had populations below 100,000 in 1910.

Many of the nation’s fastest-growing cities — including North Las Vegas, McKinney, Grand Prairie, Denton and Fort Worth — are suburbs, the Census Bureau also reported.

Estimates are based on Census 2000 population counts that are updated using information on building permits and other estimates of change, the Census Bureau reported.

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