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Suburban Areas Saw Pandemic Population Boom

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Suburban Areas Saw Pandemic Population Boom
Tubers float the Comal River despite the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, Thursday, June 25, 2020, in New Braunfels, Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that the state is facing a "massive outbreak" in the coronavirus pandemic and that some new local restrictions may be needed to protect hospital space for new patients.
Tubers float the Comal River in June 2020 in New Braunfels, Texas, a San Antonio suburb that was one of the fastest growing cities in the country between mid-2020 and mid-2021.
Eric Gay The Associated Press

Smaller and suburban places drew most of the population growth in the first pandemic year, between mid-2020 and mid-2021, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released today.

The numbers confirm a trend predicted by a Stateline analysis earlier this year.

Suburban cities in the West and South saw explosive growth. Georgetown, Texas, about 25 miles from Austin, grew by more than 7,000 residents in a single year, a rate of 10.5% for the city of 75,000.

Its neighbor Leander grew almost as fast, increasing 10.1% or more than 6,000 people.

Also growing more than 5% in a single year: the Phoenix, Arizona, suburbs of Queen Creek, Buckeye, Casa Grande, Maricopa and Goodyear; the Texas city of New Braunfels near San Antonio; the Florida cities of Fort Myers, North Port City and Port St. Lucie; Tennessee’s Spring Hill City; and Idaho’s Meridian, Caldwell and Nampa.

More than half of the nation’s 15 largest cities lost population during that year as people fled high-density housing areas. That trend was led by New York City, which by dropped 305,000 people, followed by Chicago (-45,000), Los Angeles (-41,000) and San Jose, California (-27,000). The largest gainers among big cities were San Antonio, up almost 14,000, as well as Phoenix and Fort Worth (each up about 13,000).

A Stateline analysis of postal change-of-address data in March showed that many people moved away from high-density urban areas in the year after the pandemic began and into low-density areas, often nearby suburbs.

Bend, Oregon, a prime destination for pandemic movers, was one of the cities reaching more than 100,000 population for the first time. Others were Buckeye and Goodyear near Phoenix; Fishers and Carmel near Indianapolis; and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

A man mountain biking a path with dog
A man mountain biking a path with dog
Stateline Story

Small Towns Drew Most New Pandemic Residents

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Stateline Story

Small Towns Drew Most New Pandemic Residents

Major cities lost people to more remote, lesser-known areas.

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The Pandemic Prompted People to Move, But Many Didn’t Go Far

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The Pandemic Prompted People to Move, But Many Didn’t Go Far

Permanent moves jumped 15% in March 2020.

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