It's no wonder that traffic has gotten worse. The Houston metro area has experienced the highest population gain in the nation, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land area attracted 159,083 new residents from July 1, 2014 through July 1, 2015, bringing the total up to 6.6 million. With a 2.4 percent increase last year, Houston joins Austin and Orlando, Florida as the only three U.S. cities to rank in the top 20 for both overall population gain and growth rate.
Texas has added more new residents than any other state in the country, a whopping 490,000 new residents in that time, according to the report released Thursday. Together, the Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas-Fort Worth metro areas claimed more than 412,000 of those new Texans.
With a 3 percent population increase, Austin-Round Rock was the fastest-growing metro area in the state, and the seventh fastest in the nation. The area added 57,395 new residents — about 157 people per day. The population total is currently estimated at over 2 million, but the Austin region could reach 3 million people in just four short years.
A similar story played out in San Antonio-New Braunfels, which attracted another 51,285 residents. Combined, the Austin-San Antonio area added a total of 108,680 people. This massive influx of Central Texans adds to the speculation that the I-35 corridor could mimic the collision of our neighbors in North Texas.
The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington added 144,704 people from 2014 to 2015. A total population of 7.1 million means the Dallas-Fort Worth complex remains the most populous metro in Texas and fourth largest in the U.S.
Even Texas' tinier towns are seeing phenomenal population expansion. Three small metro areas were among the fastest growing in the nation: Midland (No. 4) and Odessa (No. 5) with a 3.3 percent increase, and College Station-Bryan (No. 15) with 2.6 percent. To give comparison, the No. 1 fastest growing metro area in the country is The Villages (a suburb of Orlando), which experienced a 4.3 percent increase in one year.
As we lead the country in population growth and gain, it seems everyone wants to be a Texan. But Texans also like their wide open spaces, so let's keep encouraging the masses to move to Orlando.