In 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the United States had a population of 281.4 million people. By 2020, that number had increased to 331.4 million. Almost every major city experienced substantial growth in that time, although the rates varied enormously.
Reviewing data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 24/7 Wall St. has tracked the population change in the nation’s 50 largest cities. (On a less granular lever, here’s how every state’s population has changed since 2010.)
Our list shows some very clear trends: explosive growth in parts of the South and Southwest, slower growth in the North, and decline in parts of the Midwest. These have likely been driven by a number of factors, including economic strength in the Sunbelt states; immigration, notably from Latin America; and varying demographic profiles, with aging baby boomers more concentrated in the North and Northeast.
The fastest growth came in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the population grew by 72.6% between 2000 and 2021, followed by Fort Worth, Texas, with 71.9% growth and Charlotte/Mecklenburg, North Carolina, with an increase of 60.4%. (See the fastest growing city in every state.)
Three cities in the Midwest and one on the Eastern Seaboard experienced declines. The population of Detroit fell a whopping 30.6%. That city has long suffered from a host of ailments, including deindustrialization, high crime rates, and flight to the suburbs. The population of Baltimore shrank 6.4%, Chicago dropped 5.4%, and Milwaukee was down 1.4%.
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