They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the state’s cities seem to have taken it to heart. The Census Bureau on Thursday released estimates of the fastest-growing cities in America, and the Lone Star State claims 8 of the 15 cities that posted the fastest population growth from 2011 to 2012.
San Marcos, a small city within the Austin metropolitan statistical area, posted nearly 5 percent population growth in just 12 months. The top 10 includes two other Austin suburbs, Cedar Park and Georgetown, plus Midland, a center of the oil industry, and Conroe, a suburb of Houston. The South and West are also well represented among the top 10, with Utah, California, Arizona, Georgia, and Tennessee also earning spots.
Below, the 10 fastest-growing cities in the U.S. last year:
Meanwhile, the 10 fastest-shrinking cities include several cities in the Rust Belt, but the Midwest, West, and even Texas are also represented:
One factor that likely plays a part in these cities’ population shifts is the local economy. The list of the fastest-growing cities also includes several cities with remarkably low unemployment rates — in March 2013, Midland had a jobless rate of 3.1, for example. Other places with similarly low unemployment rates include the Austin metro area (5.3 percent) and the Houston metro area (6.1).
Likewise, several of the cities showing the greatest percentage decline in population have weak job markets. The Delano metro area posted a 13.6 percent jobless rate at last count, Detroit’s jobless rate is pushing 10 percent, and Yuma, Ariz. is at an astounding 26 percent, which may be a function of its location on the Mexico border. High jobless rates are common in border towns, says Jim Diffley, chief regional economist at IHS Global Insight, as they often pull in many immigrants, many of whom may not have jobs, having just arrived in the country. Some have also pointed to the area’s seasonal economy as a contributor to its high jobless rates.
High unemployment rates are likely a key factor pushing people out of those shrinking cities and into other places.