5 Things to Know About the Census Population Estimates

By Matt Carmichael on May 21, 2014 at 10:07 am CDT

My favorite division of government released its annual Census Population Estimates for the nation's states, counties and cities. I know you’re as excited as I am, so let’s skip the preamble and dive right in to the highlights.

  • There are about 19,500 cities and towns in the U.S. (what the Census Bureau calls ‘places’). Of those, more than three in four have fewer than 5,000 residents. Only 4 percent have more than 50,000. It’s always worth pointing out that in those 4 percent of cities are almost 40 percent of all Americans.

  • The South and West continue to lead the way in population growth. On a percentage basis, the 15 fastest-growing large (greater than 50,000) cities were mostly in Texas, Arizona and Utah. Franklin, Tenn.; Gaithersburg, Md.; and Mount Pleasant, S.C., seem like real outliers on this list. In the top five are San Marcos, Frisco and Cedar Park, Texas, and Lehi and South Jordan Utah.

  • The big continue to get bigger. New York added 231,000 residents since 2010. Houston, L.A., San Antonio and Austin all added 75,000 or more. A notable exception is Chicago, which dropped about 200,000 residents in the 2000s and is growing again, but it’s not adding residents at nearly the pace of its peers. New York added 10 times as many. To put that in perspective, New York added a population the size of Orlando, Fla. Chicago added a population the size of Searcy, Ark. Houston, which is currently the 4th largest city, behind Chicago, is adding people almost six times as quickly.

  • Since 2010, New York City added more people than Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Michigan, Wyoming, Connecticut, Mississippi, Alaska, Montana, New Mexico, Delaware and South Dakota – combined.

  • Michigan is again adding residents. After being the only state to show a decline in the 2000s, that trend seems to have reversed. Where is that happening? In cities like Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor and in the suburbs of Detroit, including Royal Oak, Novi, Rochester Hills and Farmington Hills. Detroit itself continues to bleed, losing 25,000 residents since 2010 and a whopping 10,000 in just the last year.

The fastest-growing cities, according to new U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates The fastest-growing cities, according to new U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates


There you have it: My top five things to know. I'll do a deeper dive into the data in coming days/weeks and tweet some more tidbits here and there.

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