Census Shows Big U.S. Cities Continue to Grow

Date: 
Saturday, May 28, 2016 - 15:15

Read SSDAN Director Bill Frey's recent quote for USA Today: Census Shows Big U.S. Cities Continue to Grow

All but one of the nation’s 20 largest cities saw their population grow last year, with metropolises like Austin, Denver and Houston among those seeing the most significant growth, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday. With the exception of New York City, each of the 15 cities that gained the greatest number of people between 2014 and 2015 were in the South or the West. Overall, growth in the nation’s biggest cities slowed to a five-year low of 1.03% for the last year, but the growth rate is still nearly double the average annual growth rate of 0.56% that cities saw from 2000-2010, noted William Frey, a demographer at theBrookings Institution in Washington. “We’ve seen there’s been a decline in the growth level of some cities, but it’s still the case that cities are growing rapidly in this decade compared to last decade,” Frey said. “I’m not ready to write off the decade of the cities.” Denver, with a population of 682,545, moved up two places to become the country’s 19th largest city. The Mile High City saw 2.8% population growth over the last year, a bigger percentage increase than any other large U.S. city. The city has an unemployment rate that is hovering around 3.3%, but also a hot housing market where affordable housing is becoming increasingly difficult to come by. "It's like a gold rush in Colorado," said Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce."People want two things as they make a decision of where to live these days. They want a good job and they want a great quality of life. Back in my day, you would have been willing to sacrifice quality of life for a good job. Today, I think this generation is saying, 'No, I want both.'" Seattle, which added more than 15,000, residents last year, moved up two spots to make it the nation’s 18th-biggest city. New York City, with a population of more than 8.5 million residents, gained 55,000 people in the year that ended July 1, 2015, the biggest increase in raw population among any city. The bulk of the growth in New York took place in the Queens, Brooklyn and Bronx boroughs.Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city, added more than 40,000 residents over the last year, while Los Angeles, the second biggest city in the country, added 34,000 people.Several big cities and suburbs in Texas saw some of the greatest growth last year. The state had five of the eight cities that saw the biggest increase in number of residents (Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Dallas and Austin).The greater Austin metro area now has more than 2 million people and grew by 3.7% last year, more than any metro area in the country. There were exceptions. Of the 82 biggest cities in the country, which account for a cumulative population of more than 59 million people, 11 cities saw population declines, according to the Census Bureau data. Detroit, which lost more than 3100 residents, saw the biggest population decline and fell from being the 18th biggest U.S. city to the 21st. Chicago, which had seen its population grow by more than 25,000 residents between 2010 and 2014, saw its population fall by nearly 2900 residents last year. The bleed in Chicago, which has seen its credit rating plummet as it is weighed down by a mountain of debt and $20 billion in underfunded public workers’ pensions, extends to the suburbs. Overall, Cook County, which contains Chicago and the older suburbs, lost about 10,500 people in 2014-2015. Data released in March also showed slight population declines in suburban Lake and DuPage counties, but increases in Chicago’s exurbs. “Though these patterns are still a far cry from those during the pre-recessionary period, when Chicago lost a significant amount of population and the outer suburbs boomed, they do reflect an end to more rapid city than suburban gains,” Kenneth Johnson, a senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire, wrote in a research note.