The South region led for population growth last year, driven by substantial numbers of new residents in Texas metros, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Looking at the nation as a whole, the population was up by 2.3 million people, or 0.7%, between July 2016 and July 2017. Just over 1.2 million – or roughly half – of those new residents were in the South region of the country, while the West saw its population increase by 765,672 people. The Midwest and Northeast regions logged much more mild growth of 100,000 to 200,000 residents.
Leading the U.S. in statewide population growth was Texas, with a residential increase of 399,734 people in the past year. Not far behind was Florida with 327,811 new residents and California with 240,177 people. Registering populace growth around the 100,000 mark was Washington, North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona.
Not surprisingly, the most new residents in a metropolitan area went to Dallas/Fort Worth, with a population increase of 146,238 people between July 2016 and July 2017. The North Texas region also ranks among the nation’s leaders in job growth, multifamily permits and apartment supply volumes.
Houston’s resident base grew by 94,417 people in the past year. While significant on a national level, that volume is the smallest annual population increase the metro has seen since 2010. While it would be easy to blame this decreasing growth on Hurricane Harvey, the weakening actually started in 2016, as plunging oil prices led to the metro’s first annual net job loss in six years.
Austin also ranked among national leaders for population growth with 55,269 new residents as of July 2017. This volume increased the resident base in the state capital by a significant 2.7%. Austin was the only metro in the nation with more than 2 million residents to witness a base increase of more than 2.5% last year. The only other metro that came close was Orlando, with expansion of 2.3%.
San Antonio just missed the national top 10 list with a population increase of 47,763 people.
Non-Texan metros leading the country in resident increases in the past year were Atlanta and Phoenix, with growth just shy of 90,000 people, and Washington, Seattle, Riverside, Orlando and Tampa, where the population was up between about 50,000 to 70,000 residents.
In contrast, the Chicago metropolitan area saw its resident base decline by 13,286 people between July 2016 and July 2017, marking the third consecutive year of population reduction in the metro. Though the 2017 decrease shrank the Windy City’s large population by only 0.1%, the outward migration was the steepest in the nation aside from San Juan, Puerto Rico, where Hurricane Maria devastated the city late in the year. The resident loss there was 42,810 people, or 2% of the population.