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Phoenix has become the nation’s fifth most populous city, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released today. As of July 1, 2006, this desert metropolis had a population of 1.5 million.
New York continued to be the nation’s most populous city, with 8.2 million residents. This was more than twice the population of Los Angeles, which ranked second at 3.8 million. (See Table 1 Excel | PDF.)
The estimates reveal that Phoenix moved into fifth place ahead of Philadelphia, the latest evidence of a decades-long population shift. Nearly a century ago, in 1910, each of the 10 most populous cities was within roughly 500 miles of the Canadian border. The 2006 estimates show that seven of the top 10 — and three of the top five — are in states that border Mexico.
Only three of the top 10 from 1910 remained on the list in 2006: New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. Conversely, three of the current top 10 cities (Phoenix; San Jose, Calif.; and San Diego) were not even among the 100 most populous in 1910, while three more (Dallas, Houston and San Antonio) had populations of less than 100,000. (See fact sheet. [PDF])
The estimates also reveal that many of the nation’s fastest-growing cities are suburbs. North Las Vegas, Nev., a suburb of Las Vegas, had the nation’s fastest growth rate among large cities (100,000 or more population) between July 1, 2005, and July 1, 2006. North Las Vegas’ population increased 11.9 percent during the period, to 197,567. It was joined on the list of the 10 fastest-growing cities by three in the Dallas metro area: McKinney (ranking second), Grand Prairie (sixth) and Denton (ninth). In the same vicinity, Fort Worth just missed the list, ranking 11th.
Florida and Arizona each had two cities among the 10 fastest growing: Port St. Lucie (third) and Cape Coral (fourth) in Florida; and Gilbert (fifth) and Peoria (seventh) in Arizona, both near Phoenix. North Carolina (Cary, near Raleigh) and California (Lancaster, near Los Angeles) each contributed one city to the list. (See Table 2 Excel | PDF.) California had seven cities among the 25 fastest growing, leading all states.
Phoenix had the largest population increase of any city between 2005 and 2006, adding more than 43,000 residents to reach 1.5 million. However, Texas dominated the list of the 10 highest numerical gainers, with San Antonio, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and Dallas each making the top 10. North Las Vegas; Miami; Charlotte, N.C.; and San Jose, Calif., rounded out the list of the 10 biggest numerical gainers. (See Table 3 Excel | PDF.) Overall, eight Texas cities were among the 25 biggest numerical gainers to lead all states.
New Orleans had by far the largest population loss among all cities with populations of at least 100,000 people. The city lost slightly more than half of its pre-Hurricane Katrina population. It fell from 452,170 on July 1, 2005, to 223,388 one year later — a loss of 50.6 percent. To put the size of this loss into perspective, Hialeah, Fla., which experienced the second-highest rate of loss over the period, saw its population decline by 1.6 percent. (See Table 4 Excel | PDF.)
For more information about the geographic areas for which the Census Bureau produces population estimates, see <http://www.census.gov/popest/geographic>.