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The Fastest-Growing Metropolitan Areas in the U.S.


The Fastest-Growing Metropolitan Areas in the U.S.

It’s no secret that America’s most popular cities from a century ago, like New York and Chicago, have actually been shrinking in recent years, but even newer destinations like Los Angeles are also falling from their peak populations. Instead, U.S. residents are flocking to up-and-coming hotspots in the South and West.

A hundred years ago, U.S. Census figures show that 91.3% of the nation lived outside the Western states, but now the West is more populous than both the Midwest and Northeast. Meanwhile, the South is currently the fastest-growing region of the country after stagnating for much of the last century. Census figures for 2020 show the composition of the current U.S. population to be 38.1% in the South, 23.7% in the West, 20.8% in the Midwest, and 17.4% in the Northeast.

More plentiful and higher-quality job opportunities have been among the driving forces for the move south and west. Seattle has been a prime example of the renaissance in tech jobs out west, and Austin’s growth as a new high-tech hub in Texas has earned it the nickname of the “new Silicon Valley.” Outdoor recreational opportunities and more favorable weather have also factored in strongly, as well as lower costs of living.

Even more recently, new migration trends have dispersed residents from traditional western destinations like Los Angeles and San Francisco to other places, particularly neighboring states. Over the last decade, California stands out as a notable exception in the fast-growing West; people are leaving California in droves and heading to Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. In fact, 6 of the 10 fastest-growing states benefited most from California residents, according to Census data that identified the most common origin for recent movers.

In the South, the primary beneficiaries of recent growth have been Florida, Texas, and the Carolinas. On the other end of the spectrum, the Midwest has become less popular, led by an exodus from Illinois. Outside of moves to neighboring states, which is by far the most common phenomenon for domestic migration, lots of movers also went from New York to Florida, California to Texas, Florida to Tennessee, and New York to California.

To pinpoint which metropolitan areas across the country are growing the fastest, researchers at Inspection Support Network compiled U.S. Census Bureau statistics from 2015 and 2020, then compared the difference in population. The results are right in line with state-level trends. Idaho has several leading midsize and small metros on the lists, Las Vegas and Phoenix are in the top five, and cities in Florida and Texas are commonplace throughout.

Here are the fastest-growing large metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Metro Rank Percentage change in population (2015–2020) Total change in population (2015–2020) Population 2020                                                                               Most common origin for recent movers
Austin-Round Rock, TX    1     14.6% 292,489 2,295,303 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
Raleigh, NC    2     11.7% 148,708 1,420,376 Durham-Chapel Hill, NC
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ    3     10.5% 479,564 5,059,909 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL    4     10.5% 249,797 2,639,374 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV    5     10.4% 218,131 2,315,963 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
Jacksonville, FL    6     9.8% 142,273 1,587,892 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC    7     9.6% 234,770 2,684,276 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX    8     9.3% 651,816 7,694,138 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX    9     8.9% 211,375 2,590,732 Austin-Round Rock, TX
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL    10     8.7% 258,488 3,243,963 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN    11     8.6% 155,244 1,961,232 Knoxville, TN
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA    12     7.4% 276,887 4,018,598 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX    13     7.3% 483,675 7,154,478 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA    14     7.0% 399,179 6,087,762 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
Salt Lake City, UT    15     6.4% 74,663 1,240,029 Provo-Orem, UT
United States    –     2.7% 8,745,129 329,484,123 N/A


For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Inspection Support Network’s website:


The Top-Paying Low-Density Cities in the United States

The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated a mass exodus of people from dense, expensive cities to less crowded, affordable areas. A recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll found that 39 percent of urban Americans are considering moving to a less crowded location as a result of the pandemic. This shift in attitude follows a long period of urbanization that began during the Industrial Revolution and continued through the beginning of 2020.

Despite most Americans living in high-density areas, the overall population density in the U.S. is relatively low, at under 100 people per square mile. In fact, only about 5 percent of U.S. counties have a population density that exceeds 1,000 people per square mile. Most of these high-density counties are located in coastal states such as Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and California. Low-density areas are scattered throughout the country, with the lowest population densities observed in the North Central and Mountain regions.

While rural living might be attractive for some, many Americans are simply looking for less crowded alternatives to some of the most densely populated areas like New York City (27,954 per square mile), San Francisco (18,828 per square mile), and Boston (14,396 per square mile). For reference, the median population density of America’s 324 largest cities with over 100,000 residents is just 3,419 per square mile, about 80 percent less crowded than New York City.

For families seeking a less crowded place for health and safety reasons, but also wanting to maintain a comparable salary, there are several locations to consider, especially in the South and the Midwest. To find which low-density cities pay the best, researchers at Roofstock, a real estate investment platform, analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau for cities with over 100,000 residents.

The researchers first identified cities with population densities that fell below the median of 3,419 people per square mile. Then the researchers ranked the remaining cities by their respective median annual earnings for full-time workers. In the event of a tie, the city with the higher median earnings for all workers was ranked higher. To improve relevance, cities were further grouped into the following cohorts based on population size: small (100,000–149,999), midsize (150,000-349,999), and large (350,000 or more).

Here are the top-paying large U.S. cities with low population densities.

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Roofstock’s website:


Rich in history, food and culture, Atlanta is a city that never seems to disappoint visitors. You’ll discover a variety of things to do if you’ve found yourself in Atlanta with time to kill in between meetings and conferences. Bring your appetite, a comfy pair of shoes and plenty of camera space as Atlanta boasts some of the most beautiful things to eat, see and experience. Global Trade magazine took time to vet the best spots to visit while maximizing your Atlanta experience after-hours—whether you’re seeking fancy cocktails, thrills at new heights or simply wanting to learn more about the city’s robust history. 

Centennial Park District

Take the time to unwind while taking in breathtaking views at The Glenn Hotel’s SkyLounge. This distinguished rooftop experience is among the top 23 in the world, as voted by, and among the top five in Atlanta according to Forbes Travel Guide. Located in the heart of the city in Centennial Park District, SkyLounge offers unmatched views paired with a refreshing variety of perfectly crafted drinks to satisfy any cocktail lover’s taste buds. If you’re seeking more sustenance during your visit to The Glenn, stop by Glenn’s Kitchen for a tasty meal doused in Southern style for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Seeking more heights? Take a stroll over to the SkyView Atlanta Ferris Wheel on Luckie Street. Towering 20 stories high, it boasts 42 gondolas with temperature-controlled features. Feeling fancy? Take advantage of the VIP gondola and enjoy Ferrari-style seats and a glass floor to enhance the experience. 

If you’re a sports fanatic, look no farther than the College Football Hall of Fame located just off of Marietta Street. Be fair warned, however, and bring yourself dressed appropriately with a comfy pair of shoes if you dare give the Indoor Running Field a try. Test your skills by kicking a field goal or challenge yourself to the obstacle course. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t demand your inner athlete, take your college football team pride to the next level at The Quad, where you can register your team of choice and watch it light up on a three-story helmet wall. There’s also the “Game of Your Life” 4K feature film showing at the Game Day Theater, bringing the big screen to life with all the college football action your heart desires. 

Old Fourth Ward

If you’re a history buff and seeking a region rich in history and heritage, exploring the sites and monuments in the Old Fourth Ward are well worth your time. Established in the 1800s, Old Fourth Ward boasts the very historic birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr. Visitors get the opportunity to experience the very home he grew up in and the church he preached at, Ebenezer Baptist Church at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park, also known as “Atlanta’s Top Tourist Destination” by the National Park Service. Take a moment to appreciate the Behold Monument unveiled by the civil rights martyr’s wife, Coretta Scott King, or the beautiful World Peace Rose Garden featuring themes of peace and non-violence through 185 different kinds of roses with unique colors and scents.

Once your craving for history is satisfied, take your appetite for a trip to the Ponce City Market Food Hall, where you can find options ranging from Indian street food, Szechuan-style cuisine, Asian favorites, traditional American dishes, Southern favorites and an impressive elevated craft beer garden at Nine Mile Station. Boasting views that pair well with the beer or cocktail of your choice, if you’re in town on the right day, you might even be able to catch the weekly cult classic film featured on the rooftop. You won’t regret visiting Ponce City Market and might even find yourself going back for seconds. Did we mention there’s also a wine tasting room? 

If the weight of a business trip starts to get heavy, what better way to alleviate it than with laughter? Head on over to Dad’s Garage Theater in the Little Five Points neighborhood for some uniquely showcased humor from classic improv to sketch. It goes without saying, there’s a lot to do in this part of the city. 

Buckhead District 

Buckhead is sure to please those seeking a fancier Atlanta experience–from shopping and fine dining, to historical sites and classy cocktails–all paired with modern landscapes and a refreshing atmosphere that can’t be overlooked when in Atlanta. 

If you have an appreciation for a fine bourbon and fancy atmosphere, be sure to check out the Southern Art and Bourbon Bar in Buckhead. Southern Art takes a different approach to cooking and boasts a fresh cuisine experience with the finest versions of Southern favorites that rely on the seasons to determine their character. Considering Southern Art was founded by Art Smith–known for serving as Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef for a decade–this choice spot is definitely worth a visit that will leave guests satisfied and impressed. If you’re stuck wondering what to do on a Friday or Saturday evening, Southern Art has you covered through its weekly featured “Bourbon Bar Unplugged” with live music and entertainment up until midnight. 

For another taste of history, be sure to give the Atlanta History Center a visit and plan to spend a generous amount of time exploring attractions such as the 1928 Swan House, the Smith Family Farm, the Margaret Mitchell House, and 33 acres of breathtaking gardens, woods and nature’s beauty at the Goizueta Gardens. 

Finish off the night with an elegant cocktail atop the W Atlanta’s Whiskey Blue Bar that sits 125 feet above the city skyline, where you can take in the scenery at one of the two offered patios. If you’re curious about what’s inside, head over and enjoy a cozy yet chic experience at the W’s Living Room Cook Hall or lounge area. 

With Southern hospitality at the forefront of ATL culture, you’re bound to find some interesting and kind folks to mingle with. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.