Growing Pains

See how dramatically Austin has grown since the 1970s

See how dramatically Austin has grown since the 1970s

Austin skyline downtown at night
Austin is expanding at a crazy pace. Texas Wide Open for Business/Facebook

There's no denying that Austin's population is booming, and to keep up, the city is expanding at a rapid rate. BuildZoom recently conducted an in-depth study on metropolitan growth in the U.S., and Austin's is astounding.

Since the 1970s, the expansion rate in the greater Austin area has increased by 123.5 percent, making it the third most rapidly expanding city in the nation. To put that into perspective, Austin added 67 square miles of urban development in the 1970s. From 2000 to 2009, the city gained a whopping 149 square miles — more than the entire city of Birmingham, Alabama.

Only two cities have expanded faster: Raleigh, North Carolina, No. 1, and Charlotte, North Carolina, No. 2.

Atlanta has added the most land: 632 square miles in the 2000s alone. That's nearly double that of the runner up, Dallas, which added 398 square miles in the same time period. Houston was third, with 393 square miles.

So just how big is Austin? In 2010, Austin clocked in at 501 square miles. Watch Austin's growth from the 1940s on below: