It's no surprise that Texas continues to grow at a rapid rate, with the state being the number one moving destination in the country last year. But the latest population trends show where the Lone Star State's population is growing fastest, and it's in the big cities. The new population estimate from the Texas Demographic Center (TDC) says 68% of the state's population is in the four major metro areas that make up the "Texas Triangle"-- Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin. "The counties surrounding the urban cores are growing pretty significantly, and much of that growth is occurring as a function of domestic migration, meaning people are moving from other states and other places and into those areas," says Dr. Lloyd Potter, Texas state demographer.
Overall, Texas added 1.6 million residents between 2020 and 2023, pushing the state's population over the 30 million mark (30.3 million). The Austin region was the fastest growing metro area during that time with 7.2% growth, while among individual cities, Fort Worth added the most residents -- 48,542. But even as the metro areas are growing, many of Texas' largest cities themselves are not. "People from the urban cores are moving out into the suburban rings, and that's also contributing to the growth we're seeing in these urbanized areas," says Potter.
While urban areas and their surrounding suburbs continue to grow, much of the rest of the state is seeing more tumbleweeds. More than half of Texas' counties are in so-called "rural decline," meaning their deaths outnumber births. But folks coming in from other states are driving the state's growth. California, New York, Florida, Louisiana, and Colorado are sending the most households to Texas, according to data reported by Texas Tribune. "For most people, their motivation for moving to the urban and suburban areas is because of employment opportunities," says Potter. "They're moving into these areas because Texas has a growing economy, and we're creating jobs there."
All of that growth also brings new concerns for the future. "We've already seen stresses on our power grid during extreme weather events, while we're also seeing increasing stress on water supplies in certain places in the state," says Potter. "Those are things that will be addressed, but when we hit those stress points it can be pretty uncomfortable."
Regardless of the challenges, Potter expects Texas to grow at a similar pace over the next decade. "We're continuing to create jobs, our cost of living is reasonable, and our quality of life is high," he tells KTRH. "If those things continue, we're likely to see continued growth."