May 28, 2024

Over 90% of U.S. Population Growth Last Year Occurred Outside of Largest Cities

Over 90% of U.S. Population Growth  Last Year Occurred Outside of Largest Cities

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 124 cities with a population over 200,000. In its latest population estimates, it found that over 90% of the U.S. population growth last year took place outside of those cities.  About a third of those cities lost population last year and their total population grew by .23%, less than half the rate the U.S. grew in total last year.

Roughly a third of those that lost population were in New York and California. The three largest cities in the U.S., New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, all lost population for the third straight year. Between those three cities, over 700,000 people have left since the 2020 census. New York is by far the biggest loser at 546,000. That is about 6.2% of its 2020 population.

Texas had the most cities with more than 200,000 residents at fourteen. All of them added population last year. Several of its suburban cities, such as Frisco, Round Rock and Denton, grew at jaw-dropping rates of up to 5% in a single year. Texas’ five largest cities,(Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Ft. Worth and Austin) all had positive population growth.  However, all, with the exception of Ft. Worth, grew well below the state average. San Antonio and Ft. Worth had the absolute most new residents of any U.S. city with just under 22,000 each.

Florida is home to nine cities with more than 200,000. All of those had growth rates at about three times the national average. Its largest city, Jacksonville, will likely to be the first city in Florida to exceed one million residents later this decade. The individual city numbers are a little misleading for Florida because it has a large number of medium-sized cities. If you have ever driven along the Atlantic coast, you know that it is almost a non-stop chain of city after city.

Cities in the Carolinas also had impressive growth rates. Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest city, grew by 1.74%. Several of Las Vegas’ suburbs also saw significant growth last year.

To me, the results of the new Census estimate once again confirm that Americans are voting with their feet against the supposed utopia of dense, urban living promoted by so many urban “planners.” Yet, I constantly hear from the latest generation of “urbanists” how the American people are clamoring for walkable, transit-dominated cityscapes. With over 90% of Americans making a different choice, that clamoring seems to be mostly illusory. We need to plan and make our public investments accordingly.

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