Special Report

America’s Fastest Growing Cities

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5. St. George, UT
> 2010-2019 pop. change: +28.6% (+39,441)
> 2010-2019 median home value increase: 48.9% — 58th highest out of 383 MSAs
> 2010-2019 employment increase: 45.2% — 2nd highest out of 383 MSAs
> 2019 unemployment: 3.0% — 97th lowest out of 383 MSAs

The population of the St. George, Utah, metro area was 28.6% larger in 2019 than it was in 2010. The increase was driven by an influx of new residents from other parts of the country, though births also accounted for some of the increase.

Population growth in the metro area was outpaced by job growth. Overall employment climbed by 45.2% over the same period, nearly the largest increase of any U.S. metro area. In fact, the 2010 unemployment rate in St. George stood at 10.5%, above the 9.6% national average. As of 2019, the local unemployment rate was 3.0%, below the 3.7% national rate.

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4. Midland, TX
> 2010-2019 pop. change: +28.9% (+40,932)
> 2010-2019 median home value increase: 74.5% — 11th highest out of 383 MSAs
> 2010-2019 employment increase: 56.2% — the highest out of 383 MSAs
> 2019 unemployment: 2.1% — 4th lowest out of 383 MSAs

The west Texas metro area of Midland reported a 28.9% population growth between 2010 and 2019, higher than all but three other metropolitan areas in the United States. Located in the oil-rich Permian Basin area, Midland’s rapid growth is closely tied to its natural resources.

Since 2010, oil production in the area has taken off as hydraulic fracturing improved extraction yields. In the last decade, oil production across Texas shattered records, and in Midland, employment opportunities surged. The number of people working in the metro area climbed by a nation-leading 56.2% between 2010 and 2019, and the 2019 unemployment rate in Midland of 2.1% was nearly the lowest of any U.S. metro area.

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3. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX
> 2010-2019 pop. change: +29.8% (+510,760)
> 2010-2019 median home value increase: 69.7% — 12th highest out of 383 MSAs
> 2010-2019 employment increase: 39.2% — 5th highest out of 383 MSAs
> 2019 unemployment: 2.7% — 53rd lowest out of 383 MSAs

Reporting a 29.8% population growth between 2010 and 2019, Austin, Texas, is the fastest growing metro area in Texas and third fastest nationwide. Austin has drawn in hundreds of thousands of new residents over the past decade thanks in large part to its booming economy, which is driven in part by a concentration of tech giants and startups. As of 2019, unemployment in the metro area was just 2.7%, a full percentage point below the national rate.

Jobs in the Texas capital also tend to be well paying. The typical household in Austin earns $82,650 a year, well above the national median income of $65,712.

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2. Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC
> 2010-2019 pop. change: +32.0% (+120,326)
> 2010-2019 median home value increase: 31.5% — 140th highest out of 383 MSAs
> 2010-2019 employment increase: 25.2% — 33rd highest out of 383 MSAs
> 2019 unemployment: 4.0% — 256th lowest out of 383 MSAs

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is one of several coastal metro areas in the South to report near nation-leading population growth. Between 2010 and 2019, the number of people living in the Myrtle Beach metro area increased by 32%, or about 120,300. The population increase was driven overwhelmingly by people moving to the area, rather than a high birth rate.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the influx of new residents to the area appears to have slowed. Preliminary data shows that the number of people who decided to move to the area was down 80% in 2020 compared to the previous year.

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1. The Villages, FL
> 2010-2019 pop. change: +41.7% (+39,000)
> 2010-2019 median home value increase: 49.4% — 56th highest out of 383 MSAs
> 2010-2019 employment increase: 41.8% — 3rd highest out of 383 MSAs
> 2019 unemployment: 4.6% — 312th lowest out of 383 MSAs

The Villages is the fastest growing metro area both in Florida and nationwide. Between 2010 and 2019, the number of people living in The Villages increased by 41.7%. The Villages, located in the central part of the state, markets itself as a collection of retirement communities. Draws for new residents, many of whom are retirees, include the state’s warm climate and lack of income tax.

As is often the case in rapidly growing areas, real estate values are climbing rapidly in The Villages. The typical area home is worth $282,000, nearly 50% more than in 2010.