(The Center Square) — Texas counties and metropolitan areas ranked among the best in the United States for population growth last year, new analysis from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals. While California’s largest cities lost population, Houston and Dallas were the 1st and 3rd fastest growing counties in the country.
From 2020 to 2021, five of the top ten fastest growing counties and four of the top 10 fastest growing metropolitan areas were in Texas.
The counties that gained the most people were Collin, Fort Bend, Williamson, Denton and Montgomery, with a total of 145,663 new residents in one year.
Collin County, north of Dallas, gained the most, 30,191 people, or more than 1.1 million people.
Fort Bend County gained 29,895 people, bringing its population to 858,527.
Williamson County gained 27,760 people, bringing its population to 643,026.
Denton County gained 27,747 people, bringing its population to 941,647.
Montgomery County gained 23,948 people, bringing its population to 648,886.
Harris County remains the largest county in Texas with a population of 4,728,030 and the third largest county in the nation behind Los Angeles and Cook counties.
Dallas County ranks ninth with 2,586,050 residents.
Of the top 10 earning metropolitan areas, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington earned the most — 97,290 people. Its population as of July 1, 2021 was over 7.75 million people.
Not far behind was Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land in third place, which won 69,094. Its population as of July 1, 2021 was over 7.2 million people.
Ranked fourth was Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, which gained 53,301 people, bringing its population to over 2.35 million.
Ranked eighth for the fastest growing number, San Antonio-New Braunfels gained 35,105 residents, bringing its population to 2.6 million.
Bastrop County also passed the 100,000 population threshold, growing to 102,058 people last year.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s Vintage 2021 population and change component estimates released Thursday include population estimates for 384 metropolitan statistical areas, 543 micropolitan statistical areas and 3,143 counties.
In contrast, in 2021, all counties in Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island reported natural declines, reporting more deaths than births. More than 73% of counties nationwide experienced natural declines in 2021.
Some counties have experienced population declines due to migration. The states with the most counties reporting population declines were in California, New York and Illinois.