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Latest Census Data Show Major Growth In Texas

The U.S. Census Bureau has released its latest data on the fastest-growing cities in the country. The cities with the largest increase between July 2016 and July 2017 include San Antonio, Dallas and Forth Worth — while the top five fastest-growing cities include three Texas names as well.

Meanwhile, Chicago is the only top five city in the U.S. to lose population.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson takes a closer look at what’s driving these changes with Derek Thompson ( @DKThomp), senior editor at The Atlantic.

Interview Highlights

On why Texas towns are at the top of the list

“Well the first thing that’s going on is a little bit of statistical trickery. And that is that when you’re looking at rate of growth from a really low base, it’s easy to grow really quickly. You know, if ‘Hobsonville’ has 10 people, and adds 10 people, it’s growing by 100 percent. If New York City adds 10 people, it’s not even growing. That’s the first thing that’s going on is still a bit of statistics.

“The second thing is that this is a continuation of something we’ve seen ever since the Great Recession ended: People have just kept up with the early 2000s migration patterns of moving to the South, moving to the West and moving to hot suburbs.”

On two cities that surprisingly made the list

“I mean there’s not a lot of surprises to me at the top of the list, except for two things: You’ve got Seattle, which is by far the fastest-growing dense urban area in the United States. And then second, Columbus, Ohio, I think is going to surprise a lot of people. A lot of people don’t realize that Columbus, Ohio, is secretly becoming the second Chicago of the Midwest. It has been growing really quickly for the last few years. And so those are really the two exceptions to this general rule of hot cities growing quickly — it’s Seattle, and it’s Columbus.”

On why people are moving to these cities in the Sun Belt and the West

“I think that in general, all things equal, most people don’t want to live in Maine. They want to live somewhere where it’s reasonably sunny all year long, and often relatively hot. And the second thing is that a lot of people don’t want to live in a tiny little apartment, like I do in Manhattan. They want to live in a place that has a yard, and a garden and a big house where their kids and dogs can run around. And in order to do that, you have to move away from dense cities toward space. Where is there space? Well, look at the Sunbelt, from South Carolina through Florida, on through Texas and then up through Arizona and Nevada. That’s where Americans are moving to right now.”

On why people aren’t moving to Chicago

“Well first I should say: I love Chicago. I went to school at Northwestern. I love Chicago quite a lot. But look, it’s at the center of two not-so-great trends: The first trend is the demographic trend that I’ve already explained — people are not moving to the Midwest to the Northeast, they’re moving to the South and West. And then second, Chicago is now one of the crime capitals of the U.S. The murder rate there is rather high, and they have gang problems that the city is trying to deal with. And so you put these trends together — both the crime trend and the demographic trend — and you have Chicago falling behind places like Columbus, its neighbor, and also cities like Seattle that are competing for a lot of the same jobs.”

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(Courtesy Census Bureau)
(Courtesy Census Bureau)

(Courtesy Census Bureau)
(Courtesy Census Bureau)