AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Austin- Round Rock metropolitan area is the third fastest-growing metro area in the United States, according to new data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The 2014 population estimate shows 1,943,299 people live in the Central Texas counties of Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson.
The Austin – Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area grew 3.0 percent in 2014 compared to 2013 and ranked behind The Villages, Fla. at 3.2 percent and Myrtle Beach at 3.2 percent in the same time frame.
The Villages, a master planned retirement community just west of Orlando, saw its population grow to 114,350 while the Myrtle Beach MSA saw its population increase to 417,668.
In 2013, the Austin-Round Rock MSA was the third fastest growing metro area ranked behind Odessa and Midland. Fast forward to 2014 and the West Texas cities come in at No. 4 nationally (2.9 percentage population growth over 2013) and No. 9 at 2.6 percent, respectively.
Hays County Boom
Continued growth in Hays County catapulted it to the top of the list of fastest-growing counties in Texas and fifth-fastest in the U.S. The data show Hays County’s population changed 4.8 percent to 185,025 in 2014 compared to 176,483 in 2013 when it was the fifth fastest-growing county in Texas.
“By having new businesses come in, not only are they providing services that we were having to get elsewhere, they are providing a stronger tax base to keep our property taxes down. They’re creating jobs so we don’t have to drive some place else to go to work, we can work in our city,” said Julie Snyder, Kyle Chamber of Commerce CEO.
The addition of an estimated 8542 people appears to be largely due to the number of people moving to Hays County. The Census Bureau estimated nearly 80 percent of the increase can be attributed to people moving to the county from other counties as opposed to a baby boom or an increase in immigration. With the increase in people, comes the rising concern of the ability for the city to keep up with it’s infrastructure.
“Our city council, our mayor, our commissioners are all looking at transportation issues and workforce development and really looking at the infrastructure and how we need to develop to make sure we are able to keep up with the needs,” Snyder said.
Williamson County continues growing
Weighing in as the state’s 7th fastest growing county, Williamson County continues its growth and is within reach of a half-million people. The Census Bureau estimates 489,250 people now reside in Wilco.
Central Texas Population Estimates
The fastest-growing metro area in the United States is home to a sprawling retirement community in Florida.
The Villages metropolitan Statistical area grew by 5.4 percent from 2013 to 2014, making it the fastest growing metro area in the U.S., according to new population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau today.
Located about 40 miles northwest of Orlando, The Villages MSA is predominantly comprised of The Villages, a master planned retirement community for those 55 and up, and has an estimated population of about 114,000.
Two more Florida metro areas join The Villages in the top 10 fastest growing in the nation: Cape Coral-Fort Myers saw its population grow by 2.7 percent and Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island grew at 2.5 percent.
“Migration to Florida from other states and abroad was heavy enough to overcome the fact that in about half the state’s counties, there were more deaths than births over the 2013 to 2014 period,” the Census Bureau said in the data release.
The Myrtle Beach MSA, which spans South and North Carolina, is the second fastest growing metro in the U.S. The data shows the area grew 3.2 percent to about 418,000 people.
The Austin, Texas MSA ranked third fastest at a 3.2 percent population change between 2013 and 2014. The metro area, which includes the Texas capitol and Round Rock, the home of Dell Computers, added an estimated 57,500 people for a total estimated population of 1,943,299.
The fourth fastest growing metro is Odessa, Texas, one of two oil-rich West Texas metros on the list. Odessa saw 2.9 percent growth while neighboring Midland came in at number nine with 2.6 percent.
St. George, Utah came in at 2.9 percent growth to make number five on the list, while Bend-Redmond, Oregon snagged the seventh spot at 2.7 percent.
Greeley, Colorado rounded out the top 10 with a 2.6 percent change.
Fastest growing counties
Four out of the top five fastest growing counties in the country are home to heavy oil and gas drilling activity.
The Census Bureau data shows of counties with at least 10,000 residents, North Dakota is home to the two fastest growing counties in the country. Williams County grew its population by 8.7 percent to about 32,000 while Stark County grew by seven percent to about 30,000. Both counties had large numbers of active drills and wells in 2014.
Sumter, Florida, home to The Villages, comes in third with a population growth of 5.4 percent in 2014.
The gas drilling boom is also responsible for Pickens County, Alabama, which boasted a change of 5.1 percent in its population.
The continued growth of Austin and surrounding communities bumped Hays County, Texas into the fifth position of fastest growing counties with 4.8 percent growth in 2014.