Population is booming in the Lone Star State: According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas has added more new residents than any other state in the country.
Released Thursday, the Census Bureau's population estimates paint a picture of nationwide growth from July 1, 2014 through July 1, 2015. Texas gained a whopping 490,000 new residents in that time. Together, the Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas-Fort Worth metro areas were responsible for more than 412,000 of those new Texans.
With a 3 percent population increase, Austin-Round Rock was the fastest-growing metro area in the state, the seventh fastest in the nation. The area added 57,395 new residents — that's about 157 people per day. The area's population is currently estimated at over 2 million, but the Austin region could reach 3 million people in just four short years.
A similar story played out in San Antonio-New Braunfels, which attracted another 51,285 residents. Combined, the Austin-San Antonio area added a total of 108,680 people. This massive influx of Central Texans adds to the speculation that the I-35 corridor could mimic the collision of our neighbors in North Texas.
The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land area witnessed the highest population gain in the nation, with 159,083 new residents, bringing the total up to 6.6 million. With a 2.4 percent increase last year, Houston joins Austin and Orlando, Florida, as the only three U.S. cities to rank in the top 20 for both overall population gain and growth rate.
Falling just behind Houston is Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, which added 144,704 residents. A total population of 7.1 million means Dallas-Fort Worth remains the most populous metro in Texas and the fourth largest in the U.S.
Even Texas' tinier towns are seeing phenomenal population expansion. Three small metro areas were among the fastest growing in the nation: Midland (No. 4) and Odessa (No. 5), with a 3.3 percent increase, and College Station-Bryan (No. 15), with 2.6 percent. The fastest-growing metro area in the country was The Villages, a suburb of Orlando, which experienced a 4.3 percent increase in one year.
As we lead the country in population growth and gain, it seems everyone wants to be a Texan. But Texans also like their wide open spaces, so let's keep encouraging the masses to move to Orlando.