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Follow the sun and sprawl


The U.S. Census Bureau recently released it’s 2016 city and town population estimates. The press release can be found here.

The headline isn’t a new one. Southern cities continue to grow quickly. This is not a new trend. Humans seem to like warm weather and the housing supply in southern cities tends to be more elastic. This keeps home prices relatively in check and allows the cities to more easily accommodate growth.

From July 2015 to July 2016, 10 of the 15 fastest growing large U.S. cities were in the south (based on % growth). 4 of the top 5 were in Texas. 

From 2010 to 2016, the population in large southern cities grew an average of 9.4%. Cities in the west clocked in at 7.3%. And cities in the northeast and midwest were at 1.8% and 3.0%, respectively.

Two outliers near the top are Seattle and Denver. Since 2010, the population of these two cities grew 15.39% and 14.87%, respectively. I’m going to say it’s because of the skiing and snowboarding. Half-joking. For the top 25 large cities ranked by 2010-2016 growth rate, click here.

In terms of absolute humans, Phoenix had the largest numeric increase between 2015 and 2016: 32,113 or about 88 people per day. After Phoenix it’s Los Angeles (27,173), San Antonio (24,473), New York (21,171), and Seattle (20,847). These are all city proper figures.

It’s also worth noting which large cities aren’t growing. From 2015 to 2016, Chicago fell -0.32% and Detroit fell -0.52%. Philadelphia was only slightly positive at 0.19%. Going back to 2010, Chicago is still flat at 0.27% and Detroit is even more negative at -5.39%. Philadelphia is 2.5%.

Follow the sun and the sprawl.

The below charts are from the United States Census Bureau.



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