Fort Worth

Tarrant County posts sixth-largest population increase in U.S.

New homes in southwest Fort Worth attest to the population increase. Tarrant County placed sixth in population gain among counties in the year that ended July 1, 2015.
New homes in southwest Fort Worth attest to the population increase. Tarrant County placed sixth in population gain among counties in the year that ended July 1, 2015. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Texas hasn’t put the brakes on population growth.

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington added 144,704 people, the second-largest population increase in the nation behind Houston, for the 12 months that ended July 1, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Tarrant County’s population increased by more than 36,000 people, the sixth-largest jump in the nation, according to data for counties and metropolitan areas released Thursday. Tarrant’s population was 1.98 million, according to the Census data.

We have a great city where dreams can be realized.

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams

No. 1 Harris County grew by 90,451, and No. 5 Bexar County added more than 37,000. No. 9 Dallas County grew by 33,760. No. 13 Fort Bend added 29,437 people.

Travis County, which was No. 17, grew by more than 25,500 people.

As a whole, Texas added almost 500,000 residents for the period.

“Of course, Texas shows up as being a place that you want to be,” said Steve Murdock, director of the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University. “These data, like a year before, really reinforce that Texas is having a very dramatic growth.”

Two of the most populous counties in the U.S. were in Texas: Harris County, with 4.5 million, and Dallas, with 2.55 million, said Murdock, a former Census Bureau director.

Meanwhile, thousands have flocked to the metro areas of Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington.

And eight of the 20 U.S. counties with the largest change in population belonged to the Lone Star state, figures showed.

Local leaders attribute the draw to a healthy economy.

“We have a great city where dreams can be realized,” Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said. “The city’s central location, great neighborhoods, proximity to the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and diverse educational, employment and entertainment opportunities are among prime reasons people choose to make Arlington their home.”

Fort Worth “has long been an incredibly warm and engaged community that serves as an economic engine to the state,” Mayor Betsy Price said.

It is a “big city with a small-town feel,” Price said, adding that it boasts thriving “business, cultural, philanthropic and educational institutions.”

What we’ve seen is the South, in general, followed by the West, as one of the two regions that had have the most dramatic growth.

Steve Murdock, director of the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University

Some of the nation’s fastest-growing suburban areas were in North Texas. No. 14 Collin County expanded by 3.17 percent, or more than 28,000 people; No. 16 Denton County grew by 3.42 percent, or more than 25,800 people.

Five Texas metros — Midland, Odessa, Austin-Round Rock, College Station-Bryan and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land — also were on a census list of fastest-growing areas.

Across the U.S., among the fastest-growing metro areas by percent change, many were in Texas, Florida and the West. No. 1 was The Villages, Fla., followed by Myrtle Beach, Fla., and Midland-Odessa. Others included Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.; Greeley, Colo.; Austin-Round Rock, Bend-Redmond, Ore.; Punta Gorda, Fla.; and Fort Collins, Colo.

Murdock, a sociology professor at Rice University in Houston, said the data are consistent with last year’s growth trends, though the figures released today lag by nine months.

“Right now, what we’ve seen is the South, in general, followed by the West, as one of the two regions that had have the most dramatic growth, particularly Texas and Florida,” Murdock said.

Census data released today provide population estimates for the nation’s 381 metropolitan statistical areas, 536 micropolitan statistical areas and 3,142 counties, officials said.

Yamil Berard: 817-390-7705, @yberard

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