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For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 24, 2016

Four Texas Metro Areas Collectively Add More Than 400,000 People in the Last Year, Census Bureau Reports

Press Release Number CB16-43

MARCH 24, 2016 — Four Texas metro areas together added more people last year than any state in the country except for Texas as a whole, according to new U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released today. The population in these four metro areas increased by more than 400,000 people from July 1, 2014, to July 1, 2015.

The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro areas added about 159,000 and 145,000 residents, respectively — the largest gains of any metro areas in the nation. Two additional Texas metro areas adjacent to each other — Austin-Round Rock and San Antonio-New Braunfels — were each also among the 16 nationwide to gain 50,000 or more people over the period.

These four Texas metro areas collectively added about 412,000 people. Texas as a whole gained about 490,000.

The statistics released today provide population estimates for our nation’s 381 metropolitan statistical areas, 536 micropolitan statistical areas and 3,142 counties.

Eight counties drove Texas’ metro area growth and were among the 20 counties nationwide that gained the most population between 2014 and 2015. Altogether, they added 306,736 people:

  • The Dallas metro area contained four of these counties: Tarrant, Dallas, Collin and Denton.
  • The Houston metro area contained two: Harris, which led the nation by gaining more than 90,000 people, and Fort Bend.
  • Bexar, in the San Antonio metro area.
  • Travis, in the Austin metro area.

Florida, Texas and Coastal Carolinas Dominate List of Fastest-Growing Metro Areas

The Villages, Fla., a metro area west of the Orlando metro area, was the nation’s fastest-growing metro area for the third year in a row, as its population increased 4.3 percent between 2014 and 2015. It was joined in the top 20 by five others in the Sunshine State: Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Punta Gorda, North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford and Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island.

Five Texas metros — Midland, Odessa, Austin, College Station-Bryan and Houston — were also among the 20 fastest growing between 2014 and 2015.

In addition to growth in several metro areas in Florida and Texas, three metro areas partially or completely within South Carolina were among the 20 fastest growing between 2014 and 2015:

Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, S.C.-N.C. (which ranked second nationally), Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort and Charleston-North Charleston.

Houston, Austin and Orlando were the only three metro areas nationwide to be among both the 20 with the largest numeric gains and the 20 fastest growing (percentage gain) between 2014 and 2015.

North Dakota was home to each of the four fastest-growing counties (among those with populations of 10,000 or more in 2015) between 2014 and 2015. McKenzie (16.7 percent population growth) led, followed by Williams, Mountrail and Stark. McKenzie passed the10,000 person threshold in 2014 for the first time. However, eight of the 20 fastest-growing counties were in Texas, with three more in Florida and two in Utah.

Two Metros Power North Carolina’s Climb to 10 Million Milestone

State population estimates released in December revealed that North Carolina added more than 100,000 people during the last year to become the ninth state with 10 million or more people. The growth to reach this milestone was, in large part, propelled by two metro areas partially or completely within the state: Raleigh, N.C., the 16th fastest-growing metro area in the U.S., and Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C.-S.C., the 17th largest numeric-gaining metro area in the U.S. Together, these two metro areas grew by about 78,000 people.

Other findings:


  • Los Angeles, Calif., is still the nation’s most populous county with 10.2 million people on July 1, 2015.
  • The nation’s second-most populous county — Cook, Ill. — experienced its first population decline since 2007: 10,488 between 2014 and 2015 to 5.2 million.
  • Two counties passed the 1 million population milestone between 2014 and 2015: Fulton, Ga., which is home to Atlanta (1,010,562), and Wake, N.C. (1,024,198). Wake, which includes Raleigh, was also the nation’s 19th largest numerical gainer among counties, adding nearly 25,000 people.
  • Another two counties passed the 100,000 population mark: Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska (101,095) and Gallatin, Mont. (100,739).
  • Next to Texas, California (five) and Florida (three) contained the highest number of counties on the list of the top 20 by numeric growth between 2014 and 2015.
  • Maricopa, Ariz. (Phoenix) led the nation’s counties in net domestic migration increase (38,000), followed by Clark, Nev. (Las Vegas) at 25,000. Los Angeles led in net international migration (57,000), followed by Miami-Dade, Fla. (44,000).
  • Among the largest counties (those with populations of 250,000 or more in 2015), Fort Bend, Texas, was the fastest growing, as its population climbed 4.3 percent between 2014 and 2015, to 716,087.
  • Among very small counties, Loving, Texas, was the fastest growing of those with a population of fewer than 5,000 people in 2015 (28.7 percent growth). Among those in the 5,000-9,999 population range, Bailey, Texas, led in rate of growth (3.6 percent).
  • Cook, Ill., had the largest numeric decline among counties at 10,488 people. The next largest decline belonged to Wayne, Mich., at 6,673.

Metro areas

  • The nation’s metro areas contained 275.3 million people in 2015, an increase of about 2.5 million from 2014.
  • Most (285 of the 381) metro areas nationwide gained population between 2014 and 2015.
  • Four of the 20 fastest-growing metro areas between 2014 and 2015 were in the Mountain states: Greeley and Fort Collins in Colorado and St. George and Provo-Orem in Utah.
  • Between 2014 and 2015, Fargo, N.D.-Minn., was the fastest-growing metro area outside of the South or West, ranking 23rd.
  • The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Fla., metro area added about 75,000 people between 2014 and 2015 to surpass 6 million in population. Two more Florida metros — Orlando and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater — also gained more than 50,000 people.
  • Three California metro areas gained more than 50,000 people between 2014 and 2015: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario.
  • Between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va., surpassed Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md., to become the sixth most populous metro area. New York-Newark-Jersey City, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa., remained the most populous, followed by Los Angeles, Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis., Dallas and Houston.

Micro areas

  • The nation’s micro areas contained about 27.3 million people in 2015, an increase of around 27,000 from 2014.
  • Nearly half the U.S. micro areas (261 of the 536) gained population between 2014 and 2015.
  • North Dakota contained the nation’s two fastest-growing micro areas between 2014 and 2015: Williston and Dickinson, whose populations rose by 9.9 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.     
  • Two micro areas, Bozeman, Mont., and Williston, N.D., each gained more than 3,000 people between 2014 and 2015, increasing by about 3,500, and around 3,200, respectively. 

Puerto Rico

  • San Juan continued to be the most populous of the municipios (which are similar to counties), with 355,000 residents on July 1, 2015, followed by Bayamón and Carolina.
  • Most municipios experienced a population decline between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015. The fastest losing were Lares and Ponce (both at -2.6 percent), followed by Las Marias and Mayagüez (both at -2.5 percent). San Juan experienced the largest numerical population decline, losing about 8,800 residents over the period, followed by Bayamón (more than 4,200) and Ponce (more than 3,900).
  • Gurabo is the only municipio that grew over the period, gaining 176 residents (an increase of 0.4 percent).
  • Each of Puerto Rico’s seven metro areas and five micro areas declined in population between 2014 and 2015. San Juan-Carolina-Caguas was the most populous metro area, with about 2.2 million people.

In the coming months, the Census Bureau will release 2015 population estimates of cities and towns, as well as national, state and county population estimates by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin.


The Census Bureau develops county, metro area, and micro area population estimates by measuring population change since the most recent census. The Census Bureau uses births, deaths, administrative records and survey data to develop estimates of population. For more detail regarding the methodology, see <https://www.census.gov/popest/methodology/>.

The Office of Management and Budget’s statistical area delineations (for metro and micro areas) are those issued by that agency in February 2013. Metro areas contain at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more population and micro areas contain at least one urban cluster of at least 10,000 (but less than 50,000) population. Both metro and micro areas consist of one or more whole counties or county equivalents. Some metro and micro area titles are abbreviated in the text of the news release. Full titles are shown in the tables.


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