Battered by recession, more older Americans are staying put in traditional big cities to hold onto jobs, creating slowdowns in population growth at once-popular retirement destinations widely found in the South and West.
Census estimates released Tuesday capture the impact of the housing downturn and economic recession, including the critical period after the financial meltdown in late 2008, on the nation's counties and metropolitan areas.
The numbers, current as of July 2009, are the last population estimates for metros and counties before the official 2010 headcount is completed later this year. Data from the 2010 census, now under way, will be used to redraw legislative boundaries and distribute more than $400 billion in federal aid.
Overall, fewer people are migrating to wider spaces in the Sun Belt in a reversal from earlier in the decade. Once booming in population due to the housing bubble, many of these areas are now experiencing sharply slower growth.
One exception was Texas, the Lone Star State saw substantial gains due to a stronger labor market and immigrant growth.
For the second year in a row, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston ranked first and second among metros with the most numerical gains, each adding more than 140,000 people.
Texas, which also had Austin and San Antonio in the top 20 list, stands to gain up to four House seats after the 2010 census.
- The New Orleans area grew 1.8 percent last year to nearly 1.2 million, just short of its pre-Hurricane Katrina level of 1.3 million.
- The fastest-growing metro last year was Hinesville-Fort Stewart, Ga., home to several Army brigades. Its population jumped 5.9 percent to 74,420 people.
- Since the 2000 census, 21 cities have moved up in the rankings of the 50 most populated U.S. metro areas. They included Dallas, which moved to the fourth spot behind New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Eighteen cities moved down, among them Philadelphia, which slipped from fourth to fifth.
The 2009 estimates were released as more than 120 million forms for the 2010 census arrived in mailboxes this month. The estimates use local records of births and deaths, Internal Revenue Service records of people moving within the United States, and census statistics on immigrants.
Results from the official 2010 head count will be published beginning in December.
Population estimates for the 25 metropolitan areas with the largest increase from July 1, 2008, to July 1, 2009:
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana||12,874,797||106,402|
|New York-Northern New Jersey||19,069,796||101,295|
|Austin-Round Rock, Texas||1,705,075||50,975|
|Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.||4,143,113||50,282|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach||5,547,051||45,299|
|San Antonio, TX||2,072,128||41,437|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.||3,269,814||32,202|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.||1,839,700||29,054|
Source: Census Bureau