Special Report

America's Fastest Growing Cities

America’s fastest growing cities

10. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL
> Population growth (2010-2014):
9.3%
> Total population: 253,618
> Per capita income: $45,195
> Unemployment rate: 5.2%

The population of the Crestview metro area grew 9.3% from 2010 to 2014, the 10th fastest growth rate among all metro areas. As in most fast-growing metros, the Crestview area’s birth rate of 6.1% was higher than the national birth rate of 5.5% over that period. Migration, however, was the primary driver of the growth. The area’s population grew more than 7% due to migration. Nationwide, the population grew by just 1.3% due to migration.

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9. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL
> Population growth (2010-2014):
9.5%
> Total population: 661,115
> Per capita income: $30,497
> Unemployment rate: 7.3%

As in most areas with fast-growing populations, the Cape Coral metro area economy has also been improving. The area’s 2010 unemployment rate of 12.6% fell to 7.3% in 2013, a drop of 5.3 percentage points. By contrast, the national unemployment rate fell 4.3 percentage points over that period. As of December of last year, the area’s unemployment rate had fallen even further to 5.2%, one of the lower rates nationwide. The natural population increase — the difference between area births and deaths — contributed almost nothing to overall population growth. The population growth rate due to migration of 9.6% was by far the primary driver.

8. Auburn-Opelika, AL
> Population growth (2010-2014):
9.6%
> Total population: 150,933
> Per capita income: $28,445
> Unemployment rate: 5.8%

More than 22% of Auburn-Opelika residents were in their 20s in 2013, a higher proportion than in other fast-growing metros, and considerably higher than the comparable national percentage of 14%. As was the case in most metro areas, however, the Auburn area’s 20 to 29 age group shrank slightly from 2010. From 2010 to 2014, the share of metro area residents 50 and over swelled, while younger age groups shrank. This was also generally the case nationwide, due in large part to the aging of the relatively large baby boomer population. Still, in the Auburn area, the average estimated age was approximately 34 years, one of the younger populations compared to other metro areas.

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