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Census takeaways: 'Boomtown' Austin exploded into the fastest-growing large metro in 2020

Austin has seen explosive growth in the last decade and was the fastest-growing large metro from 2010-2020. (LoneStarMike)

The Austin metro swelled by almost a third and added over half a million residents to become the nation's fastest-growing large metro in the United States from 2010-2020.


Within that metro is San Marcos' Hays County, which ranked as the fastest-growing county in the States (with a population over 100,000) in the same time frame with 53.4% growth, and Williamson County, which came in fourth with 44.1% growth.

And with that growth came change-namely, in the area's racial and ethnic makeup. Austin's Asian population nearly doubled with 96.8% growth and expanded into the third-largest racial demographic in the metro as Austin officially flip-flopped into a minority-majority region. The Non-Hispanic Whites population fell from 54.7% of the population to 49.6% in 2020, representing less than 50% of the population for the first time in census history.

While every major ethnic group increased in population in the last decade, some saw little to no change in percentages—those identifying as Hispanic or Latino increased just 0.5% to make up 31.9% of the population, while the metro's Black population fell by 0.4% to 6.6%. Those that identify as being two or more races or "some other race," exploded by over 200% each. Residents who identify with multiple races now make up 4.1% of the population as part of a nationwide trend dubbed the "diversity explosion."


Austin's Asian and mixed race population exploded as the metro flipped to a minority-majority region. (Austin Chamber)


The Austin metro also saw increasing density as it continues to grow to "boomtown" status. In 2010, 254 block groups in the region showed the population density at 5,000 or more residents per square mile. By 2020, that number had increased to 403—or 2.11% of the area.

And it seems like Austin pushed up as well as out—areas near downtown continued to pile in newcomers, but high density can now be found across the I-35 strip from San Marcos to Round Rock and Leander. Areas to the east and west saw less growth, but density still pushed outward in regions including Bee Cave, Cedar Park and Manor.


The Austin metro saw large population density increases along the I-35 stretch. (Austin Chamber)


Austin was joined by its Texas neighbors on the leaderboard for fastest-growing metros. Houston's Harris County saw the biggest numerical population change in the U.S. with over 600,000 new residents, capping out at No. 10 in percentage change in the metro with 20.3% growth. Dallas was the metro with the 11th-most percentage change and saw 245,000 more residents in Dallas County, while Austin's I-35 neighbors in San Antonio came in 12th with 19.4% growth.

Looking for more data to crunch? More detailed statistics will be released by the Census Bureau in 2022. For now, check out the full report here.

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