While the nation’s population grew last year by just 0.1 percent, many of the largest metropolitan cities are booming. Based on newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St.identified the 10 largest cities with the fastest growing populations.
Population grew between 2.5 percent and 5 percent in America’s biggest cities. Many of these cities are located in the southeastern part of the United States, with three of the 10 biggest increases taking place in Texas.
Unemployment rates were all across the board in these regions. In 2010, some of these cities, including Austin and Plano, Texas, and Raleigh, N.C., had jobless rates that were among the 15 lowest in the country for large cities. Others, including Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; and Tampa, Fla., were on the other end of the spectrum, with unemployment rates of 10 percent or more.
While unemployment varied in these cities, the number of people employed in these regions increased across the board. Between 2010 and 2011, the number of people employed in nonfarm jobs increased in the U.S. by 1.4 percent. In the majority of the metropolitan divisions in which these cities are located, employment increased by at least that much. Charlotte added 2.4 percent to its labor force and Austin grew by 2.8 percent. However, in El Paso, Texas, and New Orleans employment grew at less than the national rate, meaning that the population grew in spite of a stagnant job market.
Looking at GDP growth, many of the local economies were booming before the new residents showed up. Half were in the top third among large metropolitan areas, and three were in the top 15. Charlotte and Austin — both among the top 10 — had the second- and third-highest GDP growth in the U.S.between 2009 and 2010.
As more people moved into these markets, demand for housing increased. According to data provided by Fiserv, while home prices fell in nearly every major metropolitan region, it fell by the smallest margins among those on our list. In the case of Austin and Plano, home prices actually increased.
In order to identify the fastest growing American cities, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the U.S. Census Bureau’s population change data for cities with populations of 250,000 or more. Average unemployment rates for these cities for 2010 and 2011 population change data came from U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data for Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan Statistical Divisions was used to represent local economic data for unincorporated cities on the list. Data for the cities’ corresponding MSAs include 2010 and 2011 unemployment rates from the BLS, 2009 to 2010 GDP data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and 2010 and 2011 home price data from Fiserv.
See the complete list of the fastest growing cities in America on NBC News