Celina tops the list for the fastest-growing city in the US with populations of 20,000 or more

Press Releases
May 2024
Kristina Barrett

Large cities in the Northeast and Midwest grew in 2023, reversing earlier population declines, according to Vintage 2023 Population Estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Cities with populations of 50,000 or more grew by an average of 0.2% in the Northeast and 0.1% in the Midwest after declining an average of 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively, in 2022. Those in the West went up by an average of 0.2% from 2022 to 2023. Cities in the South grew the fastest – by an average 1.0%.

“The population growth across the South in 2023 was driven by significant numeric and percentage gains among its cities,” said Crystal Delbé, a statistician in the Census Bureau’s Population Division. “Thirteen of the 15 fastest-growing cities were in the South, with eight in Texas alone.”

Topping the list of fastest-growing cities with a population of 20,000 or more: Celina, Texas, (near Dallas), whose population grew by 26.6%, more than 53 times that of the nation’s growth rate of 0.5%.

Meanwhile, San Antonio, Texas, added more people (roughly 22,000) than any other city in 2023, reclaiming its No. 1 spot on the list of gainers and pushing it close to the 1.5 million population milestone.

Amid these notable examples of growth in the South, other fast-growing cities saw their rates of population change slow. For example, population growth in Georgetown, Texas, slowed by more than one-fourth its population growth in 2022, from 14.4% to 10.6%. The same can be said for Kyle, Texas, whose population growth decreased by nearly 2.0% to 9.0% in 2023. 

Population Change in Small Towns and Regional Differences

While 39% of the country’s population lived in cities of 50,000 or more, the United States remained a nation of mostly smaller communities. Of approximately 19,500 incorporated places, about 75% had fewer than 5,000 people in 2023 and nearly 33% had fewer than 500.

On average, these small towns experienced uneven population change across the U.S. regions. In particular, small towns in the Midwest and Northeast experienced lower rates of decline in 2023, decreasing by an average of 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively, compared to 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively, in 2022.

Meanwhile, small towns in the West grew on average by 0.3% in 2023, a slower pace than its 0.5% growth rate in 2022. In contrast, small towns in the South grew by an average 0.6% in 2023, one-and-a-half times faster than the 0.4% growth in 2022.

Most Populous Cities

The 15 largest cities in 2023 remained the same as in 2022, with a few rank changes – Jacksonville, Florida, surpassed Austin, Texas, while Fort Worth, Texas, surpassed San Jose, California.

New York, New York, remained the nation’s largest city as of July 1, 2023, with almost 8.3 million people, followed by Los Angeles, California, which reached nearly 4 million people.

Other most populous cities in 2023 were:

  • Chicago, Illinois (2.7 million).

  • Houston, Texas (2.3 million).

  • Phoenix, Arizona (1.7 million).

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1.6 million).

  • San Antonio (1.5 million).

  • San Diego, California (1.4 million).

  • Dallas (1.3 million).

  • Jacksonville, Florida (986,000).

  • Austin (980,000).

  • Fort Worth, Texas (978,000).

  • San Jose (970,000).

  • Columbus, Ohio (913,000).

  • Charlotte, North Carolina (911,000).

Discover population changes in large cities and minor civil divisions with “How Is Population Shifting in Your State?”.

Other Highlights

Crossing population milestones:

  • Four cities crossed the 100,000-population mark in 2023:

    • Yuma, Arizona (100,858).

    • Fayetteville, Arkansas (101,680).

    • Palm Coast, Florida (102,113).

    • Suffolk, Virginia (100,659).

  • Five places joined the list of cities with populations of 50,000 or more in 2023:

    • Prescott Valley, Arizona (50,045).

    • Everett, Massachusetts (50,318).

    • Gallatin, Tennessee (50,355).

    • Saratoga Springs, Utah (52,532).

    • Bothell, Washington (50,213).

  • Twenty-one places in 11 states crossed the 20,000-population threshold in 2023.

Modest Housing Unit Growth in Nearly All States

The nation’s housing stock grew by about 1.6 million units between July 1, 2022, and July 1, 2023, reaching a total of 145.3 million. The 1.1% increase was nearly the same as the 1.2% increase between 2021 and 2022. 

  • California had the largest number of housing units (14.8 million), followed by Texas (12.4 million) and Florida (10.5 million), while Wyoming (280,000) and Alaska (330,000) had the fewest housing units.

  • Utah experienced the nation’s fastest growth in housing units, with an increase of 2.5% between July 1, 2022, and July 1, 2023, followed by Idaho (2.3%) and South Dakota (2.2%).

  • Alaska (0.1%), Rhode Island (0.2%) and Illinois (0.2%) had the slowest rates of housing growth.

  • The largest numeric gains in housing units between July 1, 2022, and July 1, 2023:

    • Harris County, Texas (36,000).

    • Maricopa County, Arizona (36,000).

    • Los Angeles County, California (29,000).

    • Travis County, Texas (24,000).

    • Collin County, Texas (18,000).

  • Falls Church, Virginia, was the fastest-growing county; its housing stock increased by 13.5% between July 1, 2022, and July 1, 2023, followed by Rich County, Utah (8.5%), and Jasper County, South Carolina (7.1%). Wasatch County, Utah, and Billings County, North Dakota, were tied for fourth place with 6.1%.

  • Sharkey County, Mississippi, had the largest percentage decrease in housing units between 2022 and 2023 at 10.0%, followed by Breathitt County, Kentucky, at 1.9% and Cross County, Arkansas, with 1.4%.

The complete list of counties is available in "A Snapshot of the Nation’s Housing Stock".  

 See exact stats and tables on the PRESS RELEASE HERE.

Technical Notes

The statistics released today cover all local functioning governmental units, including incorporated places (such as cities and towns), minor civil divisions (such as townships), and consolidated cities (government units for which the functions of an incorporated place and its parent county have merged). The Census Bureau develops city and town population estimates by using updated housing unit estimates to distribute county household population to subcounty areas based on the average household population per housing unit. An estimate of the population in group quarters is added to that to obtain the total resident population. The Vintage 2023 methodology statement and release notes are available at <www.census.gov/programs-surveys/popest/technical-documentation/methodology.html>.   

This release includes some updates from the 2020 Census Count Question Resolution Operation (CQR) and 2020 Post-Census Group Quarters Review Program (PCGQR), which have been incorporated into the April 1, 2020, estimates base. CQR errata tables with original and corrected housing and population counts are available on the 2020 Decennial Census Notes and Errata webpage. All updates from the 2020 PCGQR are expected to be incorporated by the Vintage 2024 Population Estimates to be released starting December 2024. The full release schedule for the Population Estimates Program can be found on the Census Bureau’s website.

In June, the Census Bureau is scheduled to release estimates of the July 1, 2023, population by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin for the nation, states, metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, and counties, and population by age and sex for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico municipios. The data will be embargoed.

With each new release of annual estimates, the entire time series of estimates is revised for all years back to the date of the last decennial census. All previously published estimates (e.g., old vintages) are superseded and archived on the FTP2 site.  

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