U.S. Urban Populations are Growing, Reversing Pandemic-Era Trend

May 18, 2023

New estimates released Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau shows a slight increase—0.4% nationally—in U.S. urban populations, reversing many drops during the Covid pandemic.

Because the 20 largest U.S. metros had lost population amid urban flight during the pandemic, urban growth had ticked up only 0.1% across the country in 2021.

Many of those top U.S. metros had gains in 2022 after experiencing losses the year prior, including Washington, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Seattle, Minneapolis and San Diego. 

Meanwhile, Dallas-Fort Worth experienced the largest growth among the biggest cities, increasing by six-digit figures for a second consecutive year. It gained some 170,000 residents in 2022.

Other metros that saw big gains in 2022 were Houston (up 124,000 residents), Atlanta (79,000), Phoenix (73,000) and Orlando (65,000). 

Conversely two metros that were popular during 2021’s urban flight—Boise, Idaho and Provo, Utah—dropped out of the top 20 in population growth in 2022.

Metropolitan statistical areas consist of one or more counties containing a central city with a population of at least 50,000 residents which, taken together, have a high number of economic and social connections.

The retirement community The Villages, Florida, was the the fastest-growing U.S. metro area between 2021 and 2022, experiencing a 7.5% increase in population in that time period.

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