New Census Bureau Estimates Show Counties in South and West Lead Nation in Population Growth

Dallas-Fort Worth leads the nation in growth, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

WASHINGTON — Counties with the largest numeric growth are all located in the south and the west, with counties in Texas taking four out of the top 10 spots according to new U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released today. By metropolitan area, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas, had the largest numeric growth with a gain of 131,767 (1.8 percent) in 2018, followed by Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. with an increase of 96,268 (2.0 percent). Migration, both domestic and international, as well as natural increase contributed to the growth in each of these areas, with natural increase serving as the largest source of population growth in Dallas and domestic migration serving as the largest source in Phoenix.

“One interesting trend we are seeing this year is that metro areas not among the most populous are ranked in the top 10 for population growth,” said Sandra Johnson, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s Population Division. “Though no new metro areas moved into the top 10 largest areas, Phoenix, Seattle, Austin, and Orlando all experienced numeric increases in population since 2010, rivaling growth in areas with much larger populations. This trend is consistent with the overall growth we are seeing in the south and the west.”

Among counties with a population of 20,000 or more, Williams County, N.D., was the fastest-growing county by percentage, increasing by 5.9 percent between 2017 and 2018 (from 33,395 to 35,350). The rapid growth Williams County, N.D., experienced was due mainly to net domestic migration (1,471) in 2018. The county also grew between 2017 and 2018 by natural increase (427) and international migration (52).

Of the other nine fastest-growing counties, all experienced positive domestic migration. All but Brunswick, N.C., and Hood, Texas, experienced growth through natural increase (having more births than deaths), and only Brunswick, N.C., had negative net international migration.

The statistics released today provide population estimates, rankings and components of change for the nation’s 390 metropolitan statistical areas, 555 micropolitan statistical areas, and 3,142 counties, as well as population estimates and rankings for Puerto Rico’s 78 municipios.

Additional Highlights:


Growth and decline:

  • Out of 3,142 counties, 1,739 (55.3 percent) gained population between 2017 and 2018. Twelve counties (0.4 percent) experienced no change in population during this time, while the remaining 1,391 (44.3 percent) lost population.
  • Between 2010 and 2018, 1,481 (47.1 percent) counties gained population and 1,661 (52.9 percent) lost population.

Natural increase:

  • Out of 3,142 counties, 1,757 (55.9 percent) counties experienced natural increase in 2018. This is down from 1,858 (59.1 percent) in 2017.

Total net migration:

  • Out of 3,142 counties, 1,640 (52.2 percent) counties showed positive total net migration in 2018, meaning more people moved into the county than moved out. This is roughly equivalent to the number of counties with positive net migration in 2017 (1,641 or 52.2 percent).


  • Between 2017 and 2018, all 78 municipios in Puerto Rico decreased in population. Between 2010 and 2018, all but one municipio lost population. Gurabo Municipio increased from 45,371 in 2010 to 46,068 in 2018, a gain of 697 residents (1.5 percent).
  • The largest numeric population decreases between 2017 and 2018 were in San Juan Municipio at -15,123 (-4.5 percent), followed by Bayamón Municipio (-8,013; -4.5 percent) and Ponce Municipio (-6,705; -4.8 percent).
  • Among municipios with a population of 20,000 or more, the largest percent population decreases between 2017 and 2018 were in Lares Municipio at -4.8 percent (-1,242), followed by Ponce Municipio (-6,705; -4.8 percent) and Fajardo Municipio (-1,456; -4.7 percent).

Metropolitan Areas


  • Two of the 10 fastest-growing metro areas in 2018 are in Texas: Midland, Texas (first), with a growth of 4.3 percent (7,383) and Odessa, Texas (fifth), with a growth of 3.2 percent (4,951). Positive domestic migration contributed to the growth in both areas. Florida and Utah also each contains two of the fastest-growing metro areas in 2018.


  • Of the 390 metro areas within the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, 102 (26.2 percent) experienced population decline in 2018.
  • All metro areas within Puerto Rico decreased between 2017 and 2018, including Ponce, Puerto Rico (-4.6 percent); Mayagüez, Puerto Rico (-4.3 percent); Aguadilla-Isabela, Puerto Rico (-4.0 percent); San Juan-Carolina-Caguas, Puerto Rico (-3.9 percent); and Guayama, Puerto Rico (-3.8 percent).
  • The five fastest-decreasing metro areas (excluding those within Puerto Rico) were Charleston, W.Va. (-1.6 percent); Pine Bluff, Ark. (-1.5 percent); Farmington, N.M. (-1.5 percent); Danville, Ill. (-1.2 percent); and Watertown-Fort Drum, N.Y. (-1.2 percent). The population decreases were primarily due to negative net domestic migration.

Micropolitan Areas

  • Of the 555 micropolitan areas, 267 (48.1 percent) gained population between 2017 and 2018. Since 2010, 256 (46.1 percent) have gained population.

In the coming months, the Census Bureau will release 2018 population estimates for cities and towns, national, state- and county-level housing unit estimates, as well as national, state and county population estimates by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin.  


Table 1.Top 10 Most Populous Counties: 2018
StateCountyApril 1, 2010 
 (Estimates base)
July 1, 2017July 1, 2018
CaliforniaLos Angeles County9,818,67210,118,75910,105,518
IllinoisCook County5,195,0265,204,5025,180,493
TexasHarris County4,093,1884,664,1594,698,619
ArizonaMaricopa County3,817,3594,329,5804,410,824
CaliforniaSan Diego County3,095,3493,325,4683,343,364
CaliforniaOrange County3,010,2743,179,9503,185,968
FloridaMiami-Dade County2,498,0132,744,8782,761,581
TexasDallas County2,366,6832,622,7992,637,772
New YorkKings County2,504,7172,596,3852,582,830
CaliforniaRiverside County2,189,7652,417,2242,450,758
Table 2.Top 10 Counties in Numeric Growth: 2017 to 2018
RankStateCountyApril 1, 2010 
 (Estimates base)
July 1, 2017July 1, 2018Numeric Growth
1ArizonaMaricopa County3,817,3594,329,5804,410,82481,244
2NevadaClark County1,951,2712,183,3102,231,64748,337
3TexasHarris County4,093,1884,664,1594,698,61934,460
4TexasCollin County782,220971,3931,005,14633,753
5CaliforniaRiverside County2,189,7652,417,2242,450,75833,534
6WashingtonKing County1,931,2922,204,2292,233,16328,934
7FloridaOrange County1,145,9541,352,9331,380,64527,712
8TexasTarrant County1,810,6552,057,4682,084,93127,463
9TexasBexar County1,714,7721,958,8411,986,04927,208
10FloridaHillsborough County1,229,1781,410,1151,436,88826,773
Table 3.Top 10 Counties in Percentage Growth: 2017 to 2018(For counties that were greater than or equal to 20,000 people in 2017 and 2018)
RankStateCountyApril 1, 2010 
 (Estimates base)
July 1, 2017July 1, 2018Percent Growth
1North DakotaWilliams County22,39933,39535,3505.9
2TexasComal County108,485140,790148,3735.4
3TexasKaufman County103,363122,845128,6224.7
4North CarolinaBrunswick County107,429130,735136,7444.6
5FloridaWalton County55,04368,27571,3754.5
6TexasMidland County136,872165,386172,5784.3
7FloridaOsceola County268,683352,661367,9904.3
8FloridaSt. Johns County190,034243,928254,2614.2
9TexasHood County51,16358,15460,5374.1
10GeorgiaJackson County60,45767,71670,4224.0
Table 4.Top 10 Counties in Numeric Growth: 2010 to 2018
StateCountyApril 1, 2010 
 (Estimates base)
July 1, 2017July 1, 2018Numeric Growth
TexasHarris County4,093,1884,664,1594,698,619605,431
ArizonaMaricopa County3,817,3594,329,5804,410,824593,465
WashingtonKing County1,931,2922,204,2292,233,163301,871
CaliforniaLos Angeles County9,818,67210,118,75910,105,518286,846
NevadaClark County1,951,2712,183,3102,231,647280,376
TexasTarrant County1,810,6552,057,4682,084,931274,276
TexasBexar County1,714,7721,958,8411,986,049271,277
TexasDallas County2,366,6832,622,7992,637,772271,089
FloridaMiami-Dade County2,498,0132,744,8782,761,581263,568
CaliforniaRiverside County2,189,7652,417,2242,450,758260,993
Table 5.Top 10 Counties in Percentage Growth: 2010 to 2018(For counties that were greater than or equal to 20,000 people in 2017 and 2018)
RankStateCountyApril 1, 2010 
 (Estimates base)
July 1, 2017July 1, 2018Percent Growth
1North DakotaWilliams County22,39933,39535,35057.8
2TexasHays County157,099214,277222,63141.7
3UtahWasatch County23,52531,97533,24041.3
4FloridaSumter County93,420124,933128,75437.8
5FloridaOsceola County268,683352,661367,99037.0
6TexasComal County108,485140,790148,37336.8
7TexasKendall County33,41143,98445,64136.6
8IowaDallas County66,13887,21590,18036.4
9GeorgiaForsyth County175,511228,588236,61234.8
10TexasFort Bend County584,690766,136787,85834.7
Table 6.Top 10 Most Populous Metropolitan Areas: 2018
RankNameApril 1, 2010 
 (Estimates base)
July 1, 2017July 1, 2018
1New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA19,566,52719,998,95119,979,477
2Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA12,828,94613,298,70913,291,486
3Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI9,461,5399,520,7849,498,716
4Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX6,426,2227,407,9447,539,711
5Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX5,920,4876,905,6956,997,384
6Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV5,636,3636,200,0016,249,950
7Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL5,566,2946,149,6876,198,782
8Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD5,965,7056,078,4516,096,372
9Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA5,286,7505,874,2495,949,951
10Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH4,552,5984,844,5974,875,390
Table 7.Top 10 Metropolitan Areas in Numeric Growth: 2017 to 2018
RankNameApril 1, 2010 
 (Estimates base)
July 1, 2017July 1, 2018Numeric Growth
1Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX6,426,2227,407,9447,539,711131,767
2Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ4,193,1274,761,6944,857,96296,268
3Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX5,920,4876,905,6956,997,38491,689
4Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA5,286,7505,874,2495,949,95175,702
5Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL2,134,4022,512,9172,572,96260,045
6Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA3,439,8053,884,4693,939,36354,894
7Austin-Round Rock, TX1,716,3212,115,2302,168,31653,086
8Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA4,224,9664,570,4274,622,36151,934
9Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL2,783,4623,091,2253,142,66351,438
10Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV5,636,3636,200,0016,249,95049,949
Table 8.Top 10 Metropolitan Areas in Percentage Growth: 2017 to 2018
RankNameApril 1, 2010 
 (Estimates base)
July 1, 2017July 1, 2018Percent Growth
1Midland, TX141,671170,948178,3314.3
2Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC376,555463,386480,8913.8
3St. George, UT138,115165,859171,7003.5
4Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL602,098685,830708,0093.2
5Odessa, TX137,136157,173162,1243.2
6The Villages, FL93,420124,933128,7543.1
7Greeley, CO252,847305,274314,3053.0
8Boise City, ID616,566710,080730,4262.9
9Bend-Redmond, OR157,730186,807191,9962.8
10Provo-Orem, UT526,885617,751633,7682.6
Table 9.Top 10 Metropolitan Areas in Numeric Growth: 2010 to 2018
RankNameApril 1, 2010 
 (Estimates base)
July 1, 2017July 1, 2018Numeric Growth
1Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX6,426,2227,407,9447,539,7111,113,489
2Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX5,920,4876,905,6956,997,3841,076,897
3Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ4,193,1274,761,6944,857,962664,835
4Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA5,286,7505,874,2495,949,951663,201
5Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL5,566,2946,149,6876,198,782632,488
6Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV5,636,3636,200,0016,249,950613,587
7Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA3,439,8053,884,4693,939,363499,558
8Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA12,828,94613,298,70913,291,486462,540
9Austin-Round Rock, TX1,716,3212,115,2302,168,316451,995
10Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL2,134,4022,512,9172,572,962438,560
Table 10.Top 10 Metropolitan Areas in Percentage Growth: 2010 to 2018
RankNameApril 1, 2010 
 (Estimates base)
July 1, 2017July 1, 2018Percent Growth
1The Villages, FL93,420124,933128,75437.8
2Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC376,555463,386480,89127.7
3Austin-Round Rock, TX1,716,3212,115,2302,168,31626.3
4Midland, TX141,671170,948178,33125.9
5St. George, UT138,115165,859171,70024.3
6Greeley, CO252,847305,274314,30524.3
7Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL618,754739,506754,61022.0
8Bend-Redmond, OR157,730186,807191,99621.7
9Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL2,134,4022,512,9172,572,96220.5
10Raleigh, NC1,130,4881,334,3421,362,54020.5

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