Markets & Economy

U.S. cities with fastest population growth

West Coast and South regions dominate list
  • While people flock to cities for a variety of reasons, some of the biggest factors include job growth, employment rate and median pay.
  • Both California and Texas had multiple cities on the list.
  • The Pacific Northwest and its accompanying tech industry are bringing jobs and people west.

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By Nathaniel Berman; reposted with permission from Housely. Find a longer version of this post on Housely.


The United States Census Bureau recently released its most recent data on the population of American cities in the U.S. Some metropolitan areas are experiencing tremendous growth, especially in the South. The West has also done tremendously on the population growth front. The following is a comprehensive list of the top 10 U.S. cities with the fastest population growth.

While people flock to cities for a variety of reasons, some of the biggest factors include job growth, employment rate and median pay.

1. Austin

Austin

Austin mural/Flickr user mr-numb

The no. 1 fastest growing city is Austin, Texas. This is no surprise, given its exceptional live music scene, festivals, high median pay and equilibrium between unemployment and job growth rate. In 2015, the city recorded a population growth rate of 3.15 percent. The South By Southwest music festival draws millions of visitors each year to this city, and some decide to stay permanently.

2. San Francisco

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San Francisco and the surrounding suburbs continue to experience a population boom, and a median pay of $89,100 certainly helps make the decision to move easier. The unemployment rate is an excellent 3.15 percent, while the job growth rate is 4.49 percent. Although the project growth of the city proper is 0.77 percent in 2016, the growth rate in 2015 was 1.24 percent.

3. Dallas

As the second city in Texas to make the list, Dallas continues to be a popular place due to an almost even job growth rate with unemployment, which is an ideal balance for any metropolitan area. The median pay is much higher than average at $69,300, and the job growth rate is 3.86 percent, compared with a 3.96 percent unemployment figure. The projected population growth rate in 2016 is 1.58 percent, down slightly from last year.

4. Seattle

Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Many residents are flocking to Seattle because of its moderate climate, high pay and excellent job growth. The city is clean, walkable and has many sports and cultural events on a regular basis. The Seattle area is also home to Microsoft which is a major employer in the metropolitan region. The median pay in Seattle is $73,700, with a 4.2 percent unemployment rate and a 3.32 percent job growth rate. The 2016 projected population growth rate is a steady 1.34 percent.

5. Salt Lake City

As Utah’s largest city and the capital of the state, Salt Lake City has a high median pay of $63,600 and low unemployment rate of 3.33 percent. To counter the unemployment rate, the job growth rate is 3.57 percent. The city is experiencing a population growth rate of 1.4 percent in 2016 versus 1.05 percent in 2015.

6. Ogden

Nestled in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, Ogden, Utah offers world-class skiing during the winter and a variety of festivals and outdoor activities in the summer. The median pay is $57,100, and the projected population growth rate is 1.37 percent, down slightly from 1.64 percent in 2015. Unemployment is at 3.49 percent, while the job growth rate is 3.57 percent.

7. Orlando

As the core part of the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metropolitan area,, Orlando attracts millions of visitors each year because of the amusement parks. The Median income is $56,800, and unemployment is 4.63 percent, compared to a job growth rate of 2.98 percent. The projected population growth rate is 2.03 percent versus a 2.31 percent rate in 2015.

8. San Jose

San Jose, Calif. image via Shutterstock.

San Jose, Calif. image via Shutterstock.

As one of two California cities in the top 10 and within a short distance of San Francisco, San Jose is the closest city to Silicon Valley, where startup technology companies continue to emerge. The median pay is an astronomical $106,000, and the unemployment rate is 3.85 percent, compared to a job growth rate of 5.36 percent. Although the population growth is under 1 percent, there is a high potential for continued growth.

9. Raleigh

With a higher-than-average median pay of $65,800, unemployment rate of 4.76 percent and a continued job growth of 2.71 percent, Raleigh continues to attract top talent to its Research Triangle Park area of big businesses. In 2015, the population growth rate was 2.28 percent, and this year the projected rate is 1.44 percent. There are also three major universities in the area: North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina, pumping out fresh graduates to make Raleigh their permanent home.

10. Cape Coral

Located in the Fort Meyers Metropolitan Area, Cape Coral is an attractive place to live with an unemployment rate of 4.73 percent and a job growth rate of 3.73 percent. Also, the median pay is $53,800 with a low cost of living. The projected population growth rate is 2.15 percent, down slightly from the 2015 growth rate of 2.84 percent. With a more moderate climate when compared to South Florida, Cape Coral is no longer just drawing retired residents.

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