Two of the top three largest gaining metropolitan statistical areas from 2010 to 2018 were in the state of Texas. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro areas each gained over 1,000,000 people, according to July 1, 2018, population estimates just released. “With estimated populations of 7,539,711 and 6,997,384, respectively, Dallas and Houston are positioned as the fourth and fifth most populous metro areas in 2018,” said Kristie Wilder of the United States Census Bureau.
Phoenix, with an estimated gain of 664,835 people since 2010, ranks third in cumulative numeric growth and is about to become one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S.
Growth in the Phoenix metro area can primarily be attributed to a net gain of people moving from other parts of the United States (domestic migration) and from births outnumbering deaths (natural increase).
Although the Seattle metro gained fewer people than Phoenix (499,558), it still ranks seventh in cumulative numeric growth. Seattle’s population grew 14.5 percent since 2010 and, like Phoenix, is growing in part due to natural increase.
Seattle is also gaining in population as a result of people moving to the area from places outside of the United States (net international migration).
“One interesting trend we are seeing this year is that metro areas not among the most populous are ranked in the top 10 for population growth,” said Sandra Johnson, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s Population Division. “Though no new metro areas moved into the top 10 largest areas, Phoenix, Seattle, Austin, and Orlando all experienced numeric increases in population since 2010, rivaling growth in areas with much larger populations. This trend is consistent with the overall growth we are seeing in the south and the west.” (Autocrat: So much for the movement to the cities widely touted by automakers.)
Among counties with a population of 20,000 or more, Williams County, N.D., was the fastest-growing county by percentage, increasing by 5.9 percent between 2017 and 2018 (from 33,395 to 35,350). The rapid growth Williams County, N.D., experienced was due mainly to net domestic migration (1,471) in 2018. The county also grew between 2017 and 2018 by natural increase (427) and international migration (52).
Of the other nine fastest-growing counties, all experienced positive domestic migration. All but Brunswick, N.C., and Hood, Texas, experienced growth through natural increase (having more births than deaths), and only Brunswick, N.C., had negative net international migration.
To learn more about the other growing metropolitan areas, view the most recent population estimates release.