SmartAsset, a financial tech company, has released a list of the fastest-growing cities with populations over 100,000 in the United States. That growth was based on the population difference reported by the U.S. Census between 2017 and 2022 for the 344 largest cities.
Southwestern cities, many of them desert suburbs, dominated the top of the list, SmartAsset found.
Nationally, it was Buckeye, Arizona, that has seen the largest growth since 2017. Located roughly 35 miles west of the heart of Phoenix, Buckeye’s population grew by roughly 48%, going from about 68,000 to 105,500 in 2022.
Enterprise, Nevada grew by 46% and Goodyear, Arizona surged by 27%, rounding out the top three.
Here in Colorado, it was Longmont that saw the largest population growth, jumping more than 6.5%. Census data reports the municipality grew from roughly 94,100 people in 2017 to more than 100,600 in 2022.
Closer to Denver, Aurora saw the second-largest population growth (6.1%) in Colorado. Overall, 11 Colorado cities grew over the five-year period SmartAsset review. Besides Longmont and Aurora, those cities were:
- Arvada: 4.7%
- Colorado Springs: 4.2%
- Thornton: 4.2%
- Greeley: 3.7%
- Fort Collins: 2.1%
- Westminster: 1.6%
- Pueblo: 1.1%
- Lakewood: 1.1%
- Denver: 1%
The table below, courtesy of SmartAsset, shows the cities where the population grew — and shrank — since 2017.
"In general we’ve seen positive growth indicators in the southwest besides just population," said Jaclyn DeJohn, Managing Editor of Economic Analysis at SmartAsset. "In fact, Texas and Arizona place second and fourth respectively in terms of where high earners are moving to. One thing that may be drawing high earners and others to these areas is relative tax-friendliness, and lower costs of living than coastal California and major cities."
It wasn't all growth across Colorado, though (the state did lose 239,000 residents last year).
According to SmartAsset's analysis, three cities saw their populations decrease between 2017 and 2022.
The hardest hit was Highlands Ranch, which saw a nearly 8.5% decrease in population, dropping from 107,200 to 103,800. It was the third-largest drop on SmartAsset's list.
Nearby Centennial also saw a dip, albeit a much smaller 3% change. Boulder's population decreased by about 2.8%.
Over 120 cities analyzed saw a dip in population between 2017 and 2022. That includes many major cities, like Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Portland, Houston, New York City, Des Moines, San Diego, Milwaukee and Washington, D.C.
The hardest hit was Paradise, Nevada — the Las Vegas-adjacent town lost 21% of its population, according to SmartAsset's analysis. Others at the bottom of the list were Jackson, Mississippi (-10.4%) and Aurora, Illinois (-9.4%).