7. St. George, UT
> Population growth (2010-2014): 9.8%
> Total population: 147,800
> Per capita income: $26,776
> Unemployment rate: 5.4%
With a GDP per capita of less than $30,000 in 2013, St. George metro area residents were relatively poor. While the region was one of the poorer among fast-growing metros, the unemployment rate fell nearly 5 percentage points from 2010 to 2013, slightly faster than the nationwide change. The largest age groups in St. George were children and people 65 and over in 2013, which comprised nearly 25% and nearly 19% of the population, respectively, both among the highest such proportions nationwide.
6. Bismarck, ND
> Population growth (2010-2014): 9.9%
> Total population: 124,817
> Per capita income: $50,140
> Unemployment rate: 2.7%
As in several other metros with especially fast-growing populations, a regional oil boom in the Bismarck area has stimulated the area’s economy and generated high-paying jobs. The area’s unemployment rate of 2.7% was the lowest in the nation in 2013, and down even from 2010. Although, for the first time in years, Bismarck’s unemployment rate had risen slightly to 3.1% as of December 2014. More than 75% of the population growth came from migration, and many of the new arrivals were relatively young. The area’s 30-39 age group grew 2.8% from 2010 to last year, one of the larger such increases in the country. Like in most metro areas, however, more than 20% of the population was between 50 and 64 in 2013.
5. Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC
> Population growth (2010-2014): 10.3%
> Total population: 404,951
> Per capita income: $35,117
> Unemployment rate: 8.6%
Natural population growths — from births net of deaths — account for a relatively small share of the overall population growths in most areas. In the Myrtle Beach area, however, natural growth did not even account for a small share because births roughly equalled deaths. While nearly all of the area’s population growth can be attributed to migration, people were not moving to the area for jobs. The unemployment rate of 7.7% in December of last year was down from 2013 but was also one of the higher rates nationwide and the only unemployment rate among fast growing metros to exceed the national unemployment figure in December. The share of the area’s population 65 and over rose more than 4% from 2010 to 2014, faster than that age group’s growth in nearly all other metro areas. Many of the area’s new arrivals likely moved to the area in order to retire.
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