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Sunday April 5th, 2020 12:06AM

Texas is bigger: Lone Star State's metros lead decade growth

By The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Everything really is bigger in Texas.

Three metro areas in the Lone Star State had some of the biggest population gains over the past decade, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Dallas increased by 1.2 million people, the most of any U.S. metro area, followed by Houston, which added another 1.1 million residents over the decade. Austin grew by more than a half million residents from 2010 to 2019, the eighth-biggest numeric growth among U.S. metros, according to the bureau's population estimates.

That translated into a 19% increase for both Dallas and Houston, and a nearly 30% jump for Austin over the decade.

Phoenix's population of 4.9 million residents last year knocked Boston off the list of the top 10 most populous metro areas. Phoenix's population growth over the decade of 755,000 new residents gave it the third-biggest numeric gain in the nation from 2010 to 2019.

Last year, New York continued to be the nation's largest metro area with 19.2 million residents, followed by Los Angeles' 13.2 million residents and Chicago's 9.4 million residents. Rounding out the nation's largest metro areas were Dallas, Houston, the District of Columbia, Miami, Philadelphia and Atlanta.

Just under a quarter of the nation's metro areas had population declines this past decade. Leading the way were Pine Bluff, Arkansas, which lost about an eighth of its population; Johnston, Pennsylvania; Charleston, West Virginia; Beckley, West Virginia; and Danville, Illinois, about 120 miles south of Chicago.

The fastest growth rate in the nation over the decade was in The Villages retirement community in Florida, which grew by 41 percent to 132,000 residents.

More men and women heeded the call to go West this past decade.

All of the counties with the biggest numeric population gains in the past decade were in the West. Six were in Texas — Harris, Tarrant, Bexar, Dallas, Collin and Travis. The others were Maricopa County, Arizona in Phoenix, which had the biggest growth with 668,000 new residents; King County, Washington in Seattle; Clark County, Nevada in Las Vegas; and Riverside County, California, located east of Los Angeles.

Of the nation's 3,142 counties, just over half gained population from 2018 to 2019, according to the Census Bureau.

Over the decade, though, more than half of counties lost population with most small counties losing population this decade and most large counties gaining.

“One interesting trend we have seen this decade is widespread population decline among smaller counties, while larger counties tended to have population growth,” said Dr. Christine Hartley, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s Population Division.

___

Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP

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