- The Census Bureau released its first detailed data from the 2020 Census count on Thursday.
- Most of the country’s 384 metropolitan areas added population between 2010 and 2020.
- The Villages, Florida, was the fastest-growing metro area, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas, was the fastest-shrinking.
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Most of America’s metro areas grew over the last decade, with especially big gains in southern and western cities.
The US Census Bureau released the first detailed results from the 2020 Census count on Thursday that give states the tools they need to begin the contentious process of drawing new congressional districts.
Those results also show how the United States’ cities grew or shrank over the last decade. Out of the country’s 384 metropolitan areas, 312 had population growth between 2010 and 2020, according to the new results. Several cities in the South and West saw especially strong growth, continuing a decades-long trend of Americans migrating to the Sunbelt.
Six of the ten fastest-growing metros over the decade were in the South, with three in the Mountain West. Bend, Oregon, rounded out the list. The fastest-growing metro was The Villages, Florida, a Republican-leaning retirement community.
Several Appalachian and Midwestern metros fared more poorly over the decade. Half of the ten fastest-shrinking metros in the country were wholly or partially in West Virginia.
The Census results showed that the US population became more diverse over the decade, with a decline in the number of Americans identifying as non-Hispanic white and no other race, the only racial or ethnic group that saw a decline. The number of Americans identifying as two or more races increased a whopping 275% over the decade, illustrating rapid changes in how people view their heritage.
While most of the country's metro areas saw population growth between 2010 and 2020, rural areas tended to see big population declines. A map released by the Census Bureau as part of the overall package shows wide swaths of counties across middle America shrinking over the decade.
The changes in the population reported by the Census will determine the balance of political power in the next decade, as they inform state legislatures in the process of drawing new congressional districts that will last through the 2030 elections. They also give us the most accurate possible snapshot of the changing American population.