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    Tomorrow's Stars

    Latest Census data show surging growth outside core megapolitans

    The Census Bureau just released its numbers for the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. Accounting for two-thirds of the U.S. population, those 100 MSAs show some interesting trends.
    First, big doesn't necessarily mean slow-growing. Of the 15 largest metros (see below), six have double digit population growth since 2000: Dallas-Fort Worth (16.3%) ; Houston (17.5%); DC metro (10.3%); Atlanta (21.0%); Phoenix (24.2%); and Riverside (23.7). Cumulatively, those six fast growers added 4.6 million new residents. The other 9 big metros added just 2.4 million new residents.

    Big 15 Metros >> 2006 Population
    1 New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA >> 18,818,5362
    2 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA >> 12,950,1293
    3 Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI >> 9,505,7484
    4 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX >> 6,003,9675
    5 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD >> 5,826,7426
    6 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX >> 5,539,9497
    7 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, FL >> 5,463,8578
    8 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV >> 5,290,4009
    9 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA >> 5,138,22310
    10 Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI >> 4,468,96611
    11 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH >> 4,455,21712
    12 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA >> 4,180,02713
    13 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ >> 4,039,18214
    14 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA >> 4,026,13515
    15 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA >> 3,263,497
    Source: U.S. Census Bureau

    Looking at these numbers through the lens of megapolitan areas, it's striking to note the strong showing of Texas in the top megas. Looking at the numbers and the growth rate for Texas, the big three megas of NYC-Philly, Los Angeles-San Diego, and Chicago-Milwaukee have pretty good competition.
    On a map, Dallas and Houston and San Antonio may look far apart, but the reality is they are strongly tied together. In addition to large, fast moving interstates (running between metros), another significant linkage is air travel. Like the heavily used Amtrack on the East Coast, Southwest Airlines, the maverick short haul, no-frills air carrier based in Dallas, has grown over the decades by providing continuous flights between the Lone Star state's major metros. It has provided a level of air passenger service that is only now catching on across the country.
    Aided by such linkages and a ballooning population, Dallas-Fort Worth could be bigger than Chicago in a generation. And Houston wouldn't be far behind. And with San Antonio and Austin growing both growing at double digit clips, Texas could become a dominating Third Coast. In fact, by 2030, the Texas Triangle is projected to have 24 million residents. By comparison, estimates for sprawling and densely populated Southern California (anchored by Los Angeles-San Diego) are not much higher at 27.8 million people. GEO


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