Houston Suburb Named America’s Fastest-Growing City

Leah Binkovitz | @leahbink | May 25, 2017

Historic downtown Conroe. Image via Google Streetview.

Conroe, a suburb 45 minutes north of Houston’s downtown, was the fastest growing city in the country in 2016, according to newly released Census data that ranks cities with populations over 50,000.

Growing at a rate of 7.8 percent from 2015 to 2016, the city added more than 13,500 people. Including Conroe, four of the top five fastest growing big cities were in Texas — two in the Dallas metro area and one in the Austin metro area — and 10 of the top 15 were in the South.

“Overall, cities in the South continue to grow at a faster rate than any other U.S region,” said Amel Toukabri, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s population division in the press release accompanying the data. “Since the 2010 Census, the population in large southern cities grew by an average of 9.4 percent. In comparison, cities in the West grew 7.3 percent, while cities in the Northeast and Midwest had much lower growth rates at 1.8 percent and 3.0 percent respectively.” The national growth rate was just 0.7 percent.

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Harris County, home to Houston, recently made headlines after it fell to Phoenix’s Maricopa County for the largest population gains between 2015 and 2016. The latest data release reveals just how many more people the city of Phoenix added compared to Houston during that time: 32,113 compared to 18,666. Houston also came in behind other Texas cities in terms of population growth, including Dallas and San Antonio, and only narrowly beat out Austin.

Houston isn’t in any danger, though, of losing its spot as the country’s fourth-largest city.

As of July 2016, Houston had roughly 2.3 million people, compared to Phoenix’s 1.6 million. In the number three spot, Chicago had just over 400,000 more residents than Houston, but its population continued to decline, losing 8,600 people from 2015 to 2016.

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Leah Binkovitz

Leah Binkovitz is Senior Editor with the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

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