Notice a trend? More and more Americans are calling cities in the south and the west of the United States home, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which analyzed the annual population boom in cities by both percentage growth and overall growth. In the top 15 cities with the largest population by percentage, all are located in the west or the south, and, in the top 15 cities by overall growth, 13 of the 15 are in the west or the south. Below, you can see an infographic that highlights the top expanding cities by percentage and overall growth.
Austin, TX, National Capital of Population Growth
One driver of home-relocating traffic to the south? Austin, which the U.S. Census Bureau dubbed the nation’s capital of population growth in 2013, grew by nearly 21,000, more than any city with less than one million residents, and is surrounded by three of the top ten fastest growing cities: San Marcos, Cedar Park, and Georgetown. Texas also saw the country’s highest housing boom in 2013: with 118,000 housing units added, higher than any other state, according to the Census Bureau.
Considering Moving West?
Los Angeles, 3rd Highest Population Growth
Selling points: Residents can take pride in a city that has given birth to some of the country’s greatest entertainment of all genres, 75 miles of coastline, and more than 200 sites on the National Register of Historic Places. LA is not only one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world—it has one of the largest LGBT communities, too.
Phoenix, 5th Highest Population Growth
Selling points: The city boasts 334 days of sunshine per year and an annual temperature of 74.2 degrees Fahrenheit. In a survey of residents, 93 percent agreed with the statement: “Overall, Phoenix is a good place to live.” Top areas of business and employment include the service industry, trade, government, construction, financial services, and manufacturing.
South Jordan, UT, 3rd Highest Population Growth (by %)
Selling points: In this once very agrarian community that’s been experiencing a growth spurt since the 1970s, you’ll join a highly educated, well off community—nearly 97 percent have a high school diploma or higher, the median home value is over $330,000, and the average household income is over $91,000—and, being less than 20 miles from Sal Lake City, most likely enjoy a short commute. The Census Bureau reports a mean travel time to work at 24.3 minutes.
Lehi, UT, 5th Highest Population Growth (by %)
Selling points: The city’s official slogan has been “Lehi is a good place to live” since 1911 (don’t tell Phoenix) and a recent survey of residents found that 86 percent would describe the quality of life in the area as good or excellent. It’s within easy distance of Provo, Salt Lake City, Utah Lake, and the Oquirrh and Wasatch Mountain ranges. Not as rural and farming-based as it once was, Adobe, Microsoft, and other major companies now have ties to the area, and it was named by Forbes as “the best mid-sized area for jobs” (2013).
Considering Moving South?
Houston, 2nd Highest Population Growth
Selling points: Houston is home to 23 Fortune 500 companies, one of the country’s largest ports, and 500 cultural institutions, with a theater district second only to New York. It’s as culturally diverse—90 languages are spoken here, 63 percent of the world’s largest non-U.S. companies do business in the city, and it has the third-largest Hispanic population in the U.S.—as it is a culture for sports fans: with professional football, baseball, basketball, soccer, and hockey represented.
San Antonio, 4th Highest Population Growth
Selling points: Here you’ll find two of Texas’s most-visited sites: the Alamo and the River Walk. San Antonio has ranked on lists of business-friendly cities, places to get a job, and places to retire and, in 2013, it was recognized by the Public Technology Institute as having one of the top citizen-engaged communities in the country. The city’s top areas of employment include healthcare and biosciences, financial services, manufacturing, education, government, and military.
Frisco, TX, 2nd Highest Population Growth (by %)
Selling points: Ballooning from a population of 332 in 1910 to nearly 117,000 residents in 2010, Frisco claims low poverty and unemployment rates (both under five percent), a median household income of nearly $112,000, and a highly educated population—nearly 97 percent have a achieved a minimum of a high school diploma—and a location within commuting distance of both Dallas and Fort Worth. The median rent is $1,250 and the median mortgage is $2,080.
Cedar Park, TX, 4th Highest Population Growth (by %)
Selling points: Less than 20 miles from the popular Austin, Texas, this smaller, but growing city has ranked on lists of safety, family-friendliness, and desirability. In terms of housing, the median price per square foot is $101, below the national median of $111, and the median value per square foot is $122, above the national median of $120.