So the numbers show that Florida is leading the nation in the rate of population growth. But when it comes to raw numbers… Texas is tops.
“In a lot of cases, Texas leads a lot of the growth area statistics primarily because Texas itself is very, very large,” U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates Branch Chief Ben Bolender says.
Today’s data – collected from July 2013 to July 2014 – focuses on growth broken down by metro area and county.
“Texas had 11 counties on the list of top 50 numerical gainers – which is even more than Florida had,” Bolender says.
Basically, big counties got even bigger. Harris County topped the list. Bexar, Dallas and Tarrant Counties made it to the top ten.
Texas metros were also the top two in population growth by numbers: Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land grew by more than 150,000 and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington gained more than 130,000 people.
So what about Austin? Anyone who lives in the capital city blames population growth for everything from traffic to overcrowded schools to overpriced housing.
“So Austin is growing a little bit slower than maybe it did some periods in the last decade,” Bolender says. “For example, in 2006, Austin grew 4.3 percent. In 2007, it was 4.1 percent. So this year, at a little over 3 percent, is a little bit slower but it is faster than it was last year.”
That’s the same trend the state as a whole is following. So what does slower growth mean for the Texas economy?
Dr. Ray Perryman heads the Perryman Group Economic and Financial Analysis Firm in Waco. He says the numbers are more reflective of the economy – rather than predictive. Take the challenges facing the oil and gas industry.
“To some extent, that will be fairly immediate in that most people who are coming down here to work in the oil fields already know there’s job opportunities when they come and there’s going to be less of that available so, consequently, people won’t be moving here for the special oil industry jobs so that part will level off immediately,” Perryman says.
But, he says, Texas’ diverse economy and continued growth bode fairly well – especially compared to the rest of the country
“And so as a result of that, what we’re likely to find is that Texas will continue to grow and continue to add people and continue to have strong net in-migration but you will see the numbers to continue to level off to some extent,” Perryman says.
We’ll learn more about who is moving to Texas in June – when the census releases data on the demographics of population growth.