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2020 Census: Austin falls short of 1 million people but continues to boom alongside other Texas metros

Austin was one of 14 U.S. metros to grow by more than 100,000 residents from 2010-2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. (Sonia Garcia/Austonia)

Instead of topping 1 million, as many expected, the city of Austin grew by just under 172,000 residents from 2010-2020 to reach 961,855 residents in 2020, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Population growth estimates predicted that Austin would swell to nearly 979,000 residents as the housing market soared with demand and reports of a great "California migration" topped the news. While not quite reaching the expected population growth, Austin still experienced 21.7% growth in the last decade, near the 22.1% growth estimate.

Austin failed to surpass San Jose, California to become the nation's 10th largest city and remains in the No. 11 spot. Still, the five-county Austin metro, which includes Travis County as well as nearby Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell counties, has been the fastest-growing metro in the U.S. for a full 10 years, according to U.S. Census Bureau data revealed in May.

Austin was one of 14 U.S. cities that gained more than 100,000 residents from 2000-2020. Five of those cities, including Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, are located in Texas.

(U.S. Census Beraua/Twitter)

With 9.8% growth, Houston outpaced its expansion from 2000-2010 and topped Texas cities as the fourth-largest city in the nation. At No. 7, San Antonio grew about half as quickly from 2010-2020 as it did the previous decade but still topped Dallas with over 1.4 million residents, while Dallas experienced 8.9% growth (up from 0.8% from 2000-2010) to round out the top 10 list at No. 9.

(U.S. Census Bureau/Twitter)

Meanwhile, nearby New Braunfels was one of the top ten fastest-growing populations in the nation and was one of four Texas cities to experience a population increase of at least 44%.

Texas' rapid growth has done more than reshape its cities: it's also given the state more political power. The Lone Star State will gain two new seats in the House of Representatives come election season in 2022, giving the state more influence over the nation. The data released Thursday will also be used by lawmakers to redraw congressional districts.

The Bureau has gained recent controversy for its use of "differential privacy," which slightly alters local data in order to protect survey takers' privacy. The new algorithm has been criticized by some for inaccuracies and bugs within the system.

More information on Austin's key demographic changes will be trickled out by the Bureau through Sept. 15, when official population estimates through July 31, 2021 will be finalized.


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