Census: Austin Fastest-Growing Metro in Texas, Third-Fastest in Nation

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Austin was the third-fastest growing metro area in the nation during the past year, according to new data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau, with the population expanding by 3 percent between July 2013 and July 2014.

The new data, released as part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual population estimate program, gives the Austin-Round Rock area a total population of 1,943,299,an increase of about 57,496 new residents. In 2010, the Census pegged the region’s population at 1,716,303, giving the area a 13.2 percent growth rate over the previous five years.

The Austin area ranked just behind year-to-year population growth in The Villages, Florida, metro area that grew by 5.4 percent in the past year, and the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina region, which grew by 3.2 percent.

The Census Bureau’s announcement of the new estimates paid special attention to Texas’ booming growth overall, with several Lone Star State metro areas and counties among the fastest-growing in their respective categories.

Hays County was the fifth-fastest growing county in the nation over the past year, with its population expanding by 4.8 percent. Meanwhile, Harris County, which encompasses Houston, saw the largest numerical increase in residents in the entire country over the past year, with an estimated 89,000 new residents. Bexar County was the sixth-fastest growing county in the nation, with 34,000 new residents in the past year.

Odessa, in West Texas, was the fourth-fastest growing metro area in the nation with its population expanding by 2.9 percent in the past year.

And among small city growth, Andrews, which is north of Odessa, was the fourth-fastest growing micropolitan region in the nation, expanding its population by 4 percent in the past year.

 Michael Theis, Austin Business Journal, 3/26/15,