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Interactive map: Houston sees third-largest growth of all metro areas in the country, U.S. Census says

Texas had the most (4) counties of any state in the top 10 in terms of the largest growing areas, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

TEXAS, USA — There was no other metro area in the country that had more population growth from 2020 to 2021 than North Texas, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

From July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021, the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex was estimated to have added about 97,290 people to the area. This was the largest increase in the country, according to the Census Bureau.

Texas also had the most (4) counties of any state in the top 10 in terms of the largest growing areas.

The top 10 metro areas with the largest growth include:

  1. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (97,290)
  2. Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, Ariz. (78,220)
  3. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (69,094)
  4. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, Texas (53,301)
  5. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (47,601)
  6. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, Ga. (42,904)
  7. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (36,129)
  8. San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas (35,105)
  9. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C./S.C. (31,381)
  10. Raleigh-Cary, N.C. (28,186)

Michael Davis, a professor of economics at Southern Methodist University, told WFAA the new growth is significant but not surprising. 

"In general, they wanna move here because the business climate is pretty good, there are jobs here, but they also wanna move here because a relatively good quality of life," Davis said. 

However, while the North Texas area saw growth overall, Dallas County specifically had the largest drop in population of any county in the state. According to the Census Bureau data, Dallas County lost 24,907 people from 2020 to 2021.

"I think a big part of it is a concern about schools and the cost of housing and availability for housing in Dallas," Davis said. 

Davis also pointed to companies moving to counties outside of Dallas, such as Toyota's choice to move its headquarters to Plano.

While Dallas saw a population loss, comparatively, Collin County added 36,313 people, Denton County saw an of 27,747 and Tarrant County increased by 11,768.

Earlier in January, U-Haul announced that no other state in the United States had more one-way U-Haul trucks entering in 2021 than Texas did.

People coming to Texas in one-way U-Haul trucks rose 19% from 2020 to 2021, according to the report. Arrivals in Texas made up more than 50% of all one-way U-Haul traffic in 2021.

Paige Shipp, executive officer of the Dallas Builders Association and principal at Insite Brokerage Services, told WFAA the rapid growth has led to housing shortages. 

"There is just not enough houses to meet the exorbitant demand," Shipp said. 

According to Shipp, on average, building a new home in DFW was a six-month process pre-pandemic. Currently, the home-building process in the area is upwards of 18 months. Additionally, Shipp said builders are experiencing delays in the permitting process for development for certain popular suburbs. 

"It could be a really drawn out process," Shipp said. "That's one area we really could improve in order to deliver homes in a more timely manner and meet this extreme demand that we have."

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Most of the nation’s counties – 65.6% – experienced positive domestic migration overall from 2020 to 2021.

When looking at the specific counties within metro areas across the U.S., Collin County (30,191) had the third most domestic migration during this time period.

The top three include Arizona’s Maricopa County (46,866), California's Riverside County (31,251) and then Collin County (30,191).

Five of the top 10 largest-gaining counties in 2021 were in Texas. Collin, Fort Bend, Williamson, Denton and Montgomery counties gained a combined 145,663 residents.

"It means opportunity," Davis said. "But now, it also means an opportunity to make mistakes, so we have to meet the growth in an intelligent manner. We have to build more roads and more schools."