Eight of 15 cities with the fastest growth in the United States are in Texas, according to the latest data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Estimates released Thursday also show that half of those cities in the nation with the largest total population increases are in Texas. And Houston added more than 34,500 people to reach 2.2 million inhabitants — only second to New York City in total population gains in the year that ended in July.
The Central Texas town of San Marcos is the fastest-growing city in the U.S., increasing by 4.9 percent. It also surpassed the 50,000-population mark, the minimum threshold that cities had to reach to be included in the bureau’s list.
Other cities with rapid population growth: Midland and Odessa in West Texas; Conroe, just north of Houston; and the Austin suburbs of Cedar Park and Georgetown, as well as Frisco and McKinney, located north of Dallas.
No other state had more than one city in the top 15 list.
San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero was not surprised by the latest data from the Census Bureau.
“It’s been trending over the past 10 years,” he said.
Guerrero said it’s a combination of the proximity to Austin and San Antonio — with its universities, economic development and quality of life — that makes his city attractive.
Plus, he added, “we are less than three hours away from any major Texas city, two hours from the coast and have two international airports nearby.”
Of the 10 U.S. cities with the largest total gains, half are in Texas: Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth.
John Butler, director of the IC2 Institute and the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship, said the growth that Texas’ cities are experiencing has been years in the making. While the population increase in some places like Midland and Odessa can be attributed to the recent oil industry boom, in other places it’s a combination of factors.
Texas has a history of entrepreneurship, as well as universities working with companies and local governments to attract business, he said.
“It was creating the ecosystem for people to do business ... a new way of doing business in addition to oil and gas industries.
“If you want to be a country singer, where do you go? Nashville, right?” Butler said. “If you want to grow (in the country music business) you go to Nashville. We did that on the business side.”