The fastest-growing U.S. cities are in the South; four of the top five are in Texas

Deedee Jozwika, right, of Houston dances with Jaylon Jacobson of Conroe, Texas, at the Whiskey River Dance Hall & Saloon in Houston on March 23. Conroe, a northern Houston suburb, was the fastest-growing city in the U.S.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Ten of the 15 fastest-growing cities with populations of 50,000 or more were spread across the South in 2016, with four of the top five found in Texas, according to new population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Conroe, Texas, a northern Houston suburb, was the fastest-growing of the 15, seeing a 7.8% increase from 2015 to 2016, a growth rate more than 11 times that of the nation.The rest of the top five fastest-growing large cities were Frisco, Texas, a northern Dallas suburb, with a 6.2% increase; McKinney, Texas, another northern Dallas suburb, saw a 5.9% increase; Greenville, S.C., ran up a 5.8% increase; and Georgetown, Texas, a northern Austin suburb, had a 5.5% increase.

“Overall, cities in the South continue to grow at a faster rate than any other U.S. region,” said demographer Amel Toukabri of the bureau’s population division.


Since the 2010 census, the populations of large southern cities grew by an average of 9.4% while cities in the West grew by 7.3%. Northeastern cities showed 1.8% growth, while populations of Midwestern cities grew by 3%.

Four cities in the West were among the top 15: Bend, Ore.; Buckeye, Ariz.; Lehi, Utah; and Meridian, Idaho. One Midwestern city, Ankeny, Iowa, made the top 15, while the Northeast was shut out.

New York remains the largest U.S. city by a wide margin, its population of 8.5 million people being more than twice that of the 4 million of runner-up Los Angeles. Chicago trailed in third place with 2.7 million residents, despite a population loss of 8,638.

Phoenix showed the largest one-year numerical population increase of 32,113 from 2015 to 2016. League City, Texas, situated between Houston and Galveston, was the lone city to cross the 100,000 population threshold, reaching 102,010 in 2016.

Only North Dakota and the District of Columbia saw the addition of housing units increase by more than the pre-2007 levels of 1.4%. North Dakota housing stock increased by 1.6% from 2015 to 2016, while that in D.C. grew by 1.4%.