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This morning, I was reading over the 2010 US Census population figures for major metropolitan areas. If you’re interested, you can view the rankings of the top 366 metropolitan areas here. There are a few interesting observations:
(1) Dallas has surpassed Philadelphia as the 4th largest metro area in the US.
(2) Houston was the 6th largest metro area as of 2010. In all likelihood, it has now surpassed Philadelphia for the #5 spot.
(3) The fastest growing major metro areas in the US over the past decade are Raleigh-Durham, Austin, and Las Vegas. The growth of the latter has probably slowed significantly in the past few years, however. As for Raleigh and Austin, their growth is more predicated on being major technology centers with some of the best universities in the United States. It’s likely that they will continue to grow.
(4) Atlanta is now significantly larger than Boston. (This is somewhat surprising to me as an Atlantan.)
Why Do Houston and Dallas Continue to Grow?
Moving forward, Dallas and Houston will probably continue to grow more rapidly than the rest of the nation. You’ll hear a lot of reasons as to why. Certainly, part of the success in both cities in related to the growth of the US oil / gas industry over the past half-decade. While energy is an important part of both cities’ economies, it would be a mistake to overlook deeper reasons for their success. Both Dallas and Houston have diversified economies, so even with an energy downturn, the cities could still continue to experience healthy growth.