Analysis of new census data reveals which U.S. markets commercial real estate investors should continue to explore for opportunity.
Dallas/Ft. Worth was the country\’s unchallenged leader again for total population growth with 132,000 new residents in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s newly-released annual population estimates. This gain brought DFW’s total population to 7.5 million.
Dallas/Ft. Worth also experienced the seventh highest growth rate (1.8%) among the 53 metros in the U.S. with at least one million population. DFW’s growth was three times that of the U.S. at 0.6%.
Phoenix moved into second place for total population gain with 96,000 new residents. This increase brought its population to 4.9 million. Phoenix is currently the 11th largest metro in the country and is positioned to move to 10th next year (supplanting Boston).
Rounding out the top 10 metros for total population growth are Houston (92,000), Atlanta (76,000), Orlando (60,000), Seattle (55,000), Austin (53,000), the Inland Empire (52,000), Tampa (51,000) and Washington, D.C. (50,000).
Austin experienced the fastest rate of population growth of all major U.S. metros in 2018. Its population rose 2.5% last year, four times the national rate. Austin welcomed 53,000 residents bringing the total to 2.2 million.
A handful of other mid-sized metros, also saw strong population growth. Orlando ranked second at 2.4% followed closely by Las Vegas (2.2%) and Raleigh (2.1%).
The metros with the next highest increases were Phoenix (2.0%), Jacksonville (2.0%), Dallas/Ft. (1.8%), Charlotte (1.8%), San Antonio (1.8%) and Tampa (1.7%).
Orlando Gains Rank
Rankings remained unchanged for the top 20 metros in 2018, but among the mid-sized metros was some jockeying for position. The most notable change in metro rank was Orlando’s rise to 22nd place surpassing Charlotte. Orlando had the second highest growth rate at 2.4% and its population reached 2.6 million last year.
Sacramento’s rapid growth propelled this metro to surpass Pittsburgh in rank. Sacramento became the 26th largest metro with a gain of 25,000 residents bringing the total to 2.3 million.
Austin’s gain of 53,000 new residents moved this metro ahead of Kansas City in rank. They are now 30th and 31st with populations of 2.2 million and 2.1 million, respectively.
Raleigh’s 2.1% growth rate helped drive it past Memphis to become the 42nd largest metro. The gain of 28,000 residents brought Raleigh’s total to 1.36 million. (Combined with the adjoining Durham MSA, the metro area has 1.9 million.)
Salt Lake City jumped ahead of Hartford—rising from 48th to 47th. With one of the nation’s fastest growth rates (1.4%, 12th highest of the 53 metros with at least one million population), Salt Lake City gained 17,000 residents to reach a population of 1.22 million. (With the adjoining Ogden and Provo MSAs, the Salt Lake City metro population is 2.5 million and would place Salt Lake City as the 23rd largest U.S. metro just after Charlotte and just ahead of San Antonio).
A summary of the 2018 population statistics is available upon request from the authors: firstname.lastname@example.org or George.email@example.com.