Austin area among fastest-growing population in US, census data shows
The Austin metropolitan area continued to see widespread growth during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, but growth in Travis County could slow down, according to the latest estimates from the Census Bureau.
The Austin area remains one of the fastest growing in the nation. It ranks fourth in total population growth and number 1 in growth rate in metropolitan areas with more than 1 million inhabitants.
“We added more people than the San Antonio subway,” said Austin city demographer Lila Valencia. “It’s a big number and we’re growing fast.”
The censuses for cities and counties from the 2020 census are not expected to be published until September. This week’s estimates are the Census Bureau’s annual estimates for counties and metropolitan areas.
Last week the Census Bureau released nationwide censuses from the US Census, which showed that Texas has a population of more than 29 million. It was enough to secure two more congressional seats for the Lone Star State.
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Houston, Phoenix, and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex were ahead of Austin’s five boroughs in population growth.
The Austin area, which is made up of Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson Counties, had an estimated population of just under 2.3 million and recorded 67,197 new residents in 2020.
Williamson County’s estimated population grew to 617,855 – up 4.4% – adding 26,032 people, while Travis County exceeded 1.3 million people, with a growth rate of 2.1%. Hays County had the fastest growth rate. The population is estimated to have increased by 4.8% – 10,965 people to 241,365.
Bastrop County grew 3.2% to 91,601 people, while Caldwell County grew 0.9% to 43,979 residents.
Domestic immigration was the main driver of population growth, accounting for 73% of population growth in 2020. A total of 48,873 people moved to the Austin area from other parts of the US, up 17.7% from 2019, and business growth continues to be the main driver behind the move to the area.
“While it is becoming increasingly expensive for people in the area to live here, it is still relatively affordable compared to some of these other places in the country that have seen this population decline,” Valencia said. “When you’re in New York. LA, Chicago, or San Francisco are cheaper to come to Austin.”
While domestic immigration led to population growth, international immigration continued to decline, down 19.4% from 2019 and 47.3% from the 2015 peak. Birth rates rose slightly across the region, but have remained relatively constant since 2014.