Austin
1:22 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Austin Now the 11th Largest City in the U.S., Up from 13th Largest

Update: So who is moving to Austin? Young, recent college graduates and retiring baby boomers make up the majority of new Austinites, according to City of Austin demographer Ryan Robinson.

“That attractiveness, that gravitational pull that we exert for the young and the talented, and the well-educated, that really is our sweet spot,” Robinson says.

But the young are not the only ones charmed by Austin. Retiring baby boomers are also flocking to the area.

“I think what it means to retire has changed quite a bit,” Robinson says. “Folks want to be within the urban milieu, next to shopping, theaters and museums, and closer to their kids and grandkids.”

This, combined with the influx of 20-somethings, Robinson explains, dictates new construction plans. He points to condo and multi-family housing as evidence of this shift.

One big question is whether people will be priced out by the increasing costs of rent and real estate in the future. The population is growing faster than the rate of construction and creating a housing shortage, which accounts for recent hikes in prices and home sales.

“When folks go out to buy a house, they’re having to take their checkbooks, houses don’t even make it to full listing, and there are bidding wars. It’s the kind of thing we’ve seen in Austin before, but it’s happening all over again,” he says.

The new pool of Austinites is more culturally and ethnically rich than in the past, Robinson says. In the last several years, he says Austin has attracted a sizeable Asian and Latino population. But Austin’s diversity struggles in one area: the African-American population.

Experts say Austin is likely to continue its growth in the short-term, but that natural limits will eventually slow its pace. “Right now in terms of job creation and population growth, I’m not sure that I can imagine the overall economic engine being able to produce more than it’s producing now,” Robinson says. 

Original post (8:13 a.m.): Austin is moving on up, population-wise.

The latest U.S. Census Bureau reports say Austin proper is now the 11th largest city in the country, up from 13th biggest in the last ranking.

In the year between July 2011 and July 2012, over 25,000 people moved to Austin, a rate of almost 70 people each day. The newcomers upped the population to 842,592 from 820,611 in 2011. Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell says he isn't surprised by the new numbers and calls the growth in the area steady.

“Austin's growth pattern has been steady over the past 150 years, so this news is not unexpected,” Mayor Leffingwell says. “Our city is strong and getting stronger every day.”

The city has climbed up city population lists since 2000, when Austin ranked 17th.

Austin isn't the only Texas city attracting people. Eight of 15 fastest-growing U.S. cities are in Texas. Major cities to make the list: Houston at fourth, San Antonio at seventh, and Dallas at ninth.