Austin metro is fastest-growing in the country for 12th year in a row

20231203 Jennifer Bordic Austin Boardwalk NO COURTESY

Editor’s Note: The above video shows how Texas’ population grew in 2022.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin metro is the fastest-growing area in the nation for the 12th year in a row, according to City Demographer Lila Valencia.

Valencia gave a presentation on the city’s population growth and demographic trends during a city council work session Tuesday.

Austin continues “inching our way closer to that million mark,” Valencia said. The city had an estimated 2022 population of 974,447, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, a 1.3% increase since the 2020 census.

That means Austin is bucking a national trend. Of the more than 800 cities in the U.S. with more than 50,000 residents, 53% have lost population since 2020, according to Valencia.

But the rapid growth locally is being seen even more outside of Austin, in suburban cities like Georgetown, Kyle and Leander, all of which ranked in the top four fastest-growing cities in the nation in 2022.

“The rapid growth of the region, especially in the suburban cities paired with a slower rate of growth in Austin, has resulted in a declining share of the Austin population relative to the total population of the region,” Valencia said.

In 1980, the city of Austin accounted for 59% of the entire metro’s population. By 2020, that share had fallen to 42%.

City projections forecast Austin’s population could climb to 1.1 million by 2030 and more than 1.6 million by 2060. At the same time, the forecasts for the metro area as a whole are 2.8 million by 2030 and more than 4.3 million by 2060.

If those numbers pan out, Austin’s share of the total metro population would drop to 38% by 2060.

The bulk of the growth in the region, Valencia said, is due to inward migration — about three quarters of the population increase in 2021 alone came from domestic migration, either from other states or from other parts of Texas.

While natural increase — the number of people born in Austin — often has lag effects, migration causes a more immediate strain of resources. If a child is born in Austin, for example, they wouldn’t put pressure on the demand for services for a few years.

But if someone moves to Austin from elsewhere, they immediately need housing, utilities, transportation and other city services, Valencia said. That’s especially the case because people immigrating to Austin tend to be of “peak working age,” 25 to 35 years old.

That extra strain on resources has caused home prices in Austin to skyrocket. According to Valencia’s presentation, the average home price in the city is now 3.6 times greater than in 1990, and prices have more than doubled in just the past 10 years alone. That’s despite the fact that the city added more housing units than ever before — 90,175 — between 2010 and 2020.

“Household formation is outpacing growth in housing units,” Valencia said. “If we think of housing units as the supply and household formation as the demand, then we can see the mismatch in production to household formation.”

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