(Houston Business Journal) Texas metropolitan statistical areas, micropolitan statistical areas and counties — including Houston and Harris County — were among the fastest-growing last year, the U.S. Census Bureau said Thursday.
Between July 2011 and July 2012, Harris County experienced the largest increase in raw numbers of any county in the U.S. It added 80,005 residents over the year, followed by Los Angeles County in California and Maricopa County in Arizona, which both added nearly 74,000 people.
Dallas County was No. 4, with 45,827 new residents. Travis County and Tarrant County were the other two Texas counties to make the top 10, ranking No. 7 and No. 9, respectively. Texas held 11 of the spots on the Census Bureau’s list of the top 50 fastest-growing counties.
Texas also took the top two spots among the metro areas with the largest numeric increase. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington grew the most, adding 131,879 new residents, and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land was No. 2, with 125,185 added.
The Houston MSA’s July 2012 population is estimated at 6,177,035 — the fifth-largest across the country — according to the Business Journals’ On Numbers. Thursday’s estimates are the first to be released since the U.S. Office of Management and Budget redefined the borders of all metros and micros — and changed some of their formal names — a month ago.
Midland, Texas, grew 4.6 percent over the year, making it the country’s fastest-growing metro area by percent increase. Austin-Round Rock was up 3 percent, ranking it No. 7 by percentage growth.
Andrews was the fastest-growing micropolitan area in Texas. Its 4.7 percent growth ranked it No. 4 among all micro areas in the U.S.
The Census Bureau attributed much of Texas’ population boom to the oil and gas boom.
“After a long period of out-migration, some parts of the Great Plains ─ from just south of the Canadian border all the way down to West Texas ─ are experiencing rapid population growth,” Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau’s senior adviser performing the duties of director, said in the Bureau’s Thursday statement. “There are probably many factors fueling this growth on the prairie, but no doubt the energy boom is playing a role. For instance, the Permian Basin, located primarily in West Texas, and North Dakota accounted for almost half of the total U.S. growth in firms that mine or extract oil and gas, during a recent one-year period.”
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