Gulf Coast Metro Areas Among Fastest-Growing
By Nora Tooher
Two Gulf Coast metro areas recently made the U.S. Census Bureau’s top 10 list of high-growth communities. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Ala., grew 2.6 percent and Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., grew 2.5 percent since the last year.
The nation's fastest-growing metro area between 2012 and 2013 was The Villages, Fla. Its population rose by 5.2 percent over the period. Home values there are about $197,900, according to Zillow. Values have risen 12.1 percent over the past year and are predicted to rise 8.2 percent within the next year.
Sumter, Fla.; St. Bernard Parish, La.; and Fort Bend, Texas, were also among the 10 fastest-growing counties in the vicinity of the Gulf Coast.
Other fast-growing metros were Odessa and Midland, both in Texas; Fargo and Bismarck, both in North Dakota; Casper, Wyo.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and Austin, Texas.
Many older industrial metros in the Northeast are struggling to retain their populations. Rochester, N.Y., for example, once a major manufacturing hub and now a center of higher education and technology, eked out only a 0.1 percent population increase last year.
Much of the nation’s population growth last year occurred in oil- and gas-rich areas in and near the Great Plains, according to the Census Bureau. Areas along the Gulf Coast were also home to several high-growth communities.
The fastest-growing county with 250,000 or more people was Fort Bend, Texas, whose population increased by 4.2 percent between 2012 and 2013. Loudoun, Va., and Osceola, Fla., followed.
Dunn, N.C., had the largest numeric increase among all micro areas – those with populations between 10,000 and 49,999 – growing by 2,855 people between 2012 and 2013. The other two micro areas gaining 2,500 or more people over the period were in Williston and Minot, both in North Dakota.
New York City remains the largest community in the country, followed by the Los Angeles and Chicago metro areas. Dallas is the fourth-largest metro area, followed by Houston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Miami, Atlanta and Boston.
Sierra Vista-Douglas, Ariz., had the largest rate of decline from 2012 to 2013, at -1.7 percent, while Youngstown, Ohio, had the most sizable numeric loss at just under 3,000.