by ALEXA URA and LAUREN FLANNERY
Texas’ suburban population continues to surge, with growth in some suburban counties outpacing the state’s biggest cities, new census figures show.
Texas gained almost half a million new residents in a year, and the state’s most rapid growth was clustered in Central Texas suburbs, the greater Houston area and West Texas oil towns, according to population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The estimates, which track population increases from July 2014 to July 2015, also ranked a handful of the state’s counties and metropolitan areas among the fastest-growing areas in the country.
Located between Austin and San Antonio, Hays County once again ranked as the fastest-growing county in Texas among those with populations greater than 10,000. With a 5.2 percent increase in population, it grew from 185,096 people in 2014 to 194,739 in 2015.
Hays County — with its population spread across suburbs like Buda, Wimberley and Dripping Springs — is also the fifth-fastest-growing county in the nation. Its population, like that of many other suburban counties, has exploded in the last five years.
Ten fastest-growing counties in TexasBetween 2010 and 2015, suburban and West Texas counties made up most of the 10 fastest-growing Texas counties with populations greater than 10,000.
Behind Hays, Comal, Fort Bend and Kendall counties were among those that grew most rapidly last year. In each of those suburban counties, the population grew twice as fast as that of the adjacent populous urban county.
It’s a trend that’s mostly kept up in the last five years as the population in some suburban counties has surged.
While the fastest growth was concentrated in suburban areas, Texas’ metropolitan areas also gained hundreds of thousands of new residents. Texas’ four largest metropolitan areas together grew more last year than any state in the country except Texas itself.
The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area saw the largest gain in residents in the country, adding 159,083 residents. With 144,704 new residents, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area came in second.
The Austin-Round Rock and San Antonio-New Braunfels metro areas added almost 109,000 residents. Those four Texas metro areas combined added more than 412,000 residents while Texas gained 490,000 residents.
Statement by Greater San Marcos Partnership president Adriana Cruz:
“According to U.S. Census Bureau data released just today, four metro areas in Texas added more people last year than any other state. Already home to the country’s fastest growing city, San Marcos (and one of the country’s fastest growing counties, Hays County), the Greater San Marcos region is once again at the epicenter of the nation’s population growth.
With the Greater San Marcos region at the hub of the Austin-San Antonio corridor, our area is a bridge between the two metros, making us well positioned to play a major role in supporting the most dynamic corridor in the U.S. At GSMP, we’re consistently working alongside elected officials to prepare for the future of our region through forward-focused infrastructure investment, workforce training, and quality job creation—so that our region’s growth is by design, not default.”
ALEXA URA and LAUREN FLANNERY report for The Texas Tribune where this story was originally published. It is made available here through a news partnership between the Texas Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.
COVER: Hays County — with its population spread across suburbs like Buda, Wimberley and Dripping Springs — is the fastest-growing county in Texas among those with populations greater than 10,000. PHOTO by MADELYNNE SCALES/THE TEXAS TRIBUNE