50 Fastest-Growing Metro Areas Concentrated in West and South
According to population estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, Bend was the second fastest-growing metropolitan area (with urban populations of 50,000 or more) in the nation between July 2005 and July 2006, with 5.6 percent growth. Only St. George, Utah topped Bend’s growth rate for the one-year period.
The census also tagged Bend as the fourth fastest-growing metro area between 2000 and 2006, with a growth of 29.3 percent to total 149,140 on July 1, 2006.
According to population estimates for all metro areas, the Atlanta metro area gained 890,000 residents from April 1, 2000, to July 1, 2006, the largest numerical gain of the nation’s 361 metro areas.
This Georgia metro area (Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta) was the nation’s ninth largest as of July 1, 2006 with a population of 5.1 million. Overall, six metro areas each gained at least 500,000 people between 2000 and 2006.
Dallas-Fort Worth had the second largest numeric increase at 842,000, and totaled about 6 million people. Houston (with an increase of 825,000), Phoenix (787,000) and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (771,000) rounded out the top five metro area gainers over the time period. The five metro areas experiencing the greatest numeric change between 2000 and 2006 were in the South or West.
The Northeast metro area with the greatest numeric change between 2000 and 2006 was New York (seventh overall nationally), while the Midwest metro area with the greatest numeric change over the same period was Chicago (10th overall nationally).
New York was the most populous metro area on July 1, 2006, with 18.8 million people, followed by Los Angeles (13 million) and Chicago (9.5 million). Fourteen metro areas had populations of 4 million or more.
The New Orleans metro area experienced the greatest numeric loss from April 1, 2000, to July 1, 2006, declining 292,000 since 2000 to 1 million on July 1, 2006. It was followed by Pittsburgh (a loss of 60,000) and Cleveland (a loss of 34,000). The New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La., metro area also had the biggest percentage loss during the same time period at 22.2 percent. It was followed by Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss. (a loss of 7.4 percent) and Weirton- Steubenville, W.Va.-Ohio (a loss of 5.2 percent).
St. George, in the southwestern part of Utah, was the fastest-growing metro area between 2000 and 2006, with a growth of 39.8 percent to total 126,000 on July 1, 2006. Rounding out the top five were Greeley, Colo. (31 percent); Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. (29.6 percent); Bend, Ore. (29.3 percent); and Las Vegas (29.2 percent).
The 50 fastest-growing metro areas were almost evenly distributed between just two regions — 23 in the West and 25 in the South. One metro area, Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.-Mo., straddled both the South and Midwest regions. Sioux Falls, S.D., was the lone metro area among the top 50 fastest-growing located completely in the Midwest. Of the 50 fastest-growing metro areas, none were in the Northeast. York-Hanover, Pa., the fastest-growing metro area in the Northeast, ranked 95th.
More than four-fifths of all U.S. metro areas (305 out of 361) had a larger population on July 1, 2006, than on April 1, 2000. The 50 fastest-growing metro areas between April 1, 2000, and July 1, 2006, all grew by at least 13.8 percent, which is more than double the nation’s total population gain of 6.4 percent during the same time period. As of July 1, 2006, the 361 metro areas in the United States contained 249.2 million people — 83.2 percent of the nation’s population.