As if Continental ditching its downtown corporate HQ for Chicago weren't enough, Houston just got another slap in the face from the Windy City.
After much anticipation that Houston would pass up Chicago in the 2010 Census as the third most-populous American city, the final census estimates released today maintain the current ranking of Houston as number four.
In fact, Chicago recorded its highest growth rate this decade. It's a sad day for proud "Houstonites," who were so eager to take on the new title.
Alternatively, Chicago's maintained rank may just be a product of the recession, which is making it impossible for older residents to leave the city.
"People are sort of being frozen in place by the recession," Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute. Johnson told the Chicago Sun-Times that factors that used to motivate movement, such as cashing in on selling a house, no longer exist.
So don't cry about it, Clutch City.
Houston is one of three other Texas cities — San Antonio, Fort Worth and Austin — among the nine cities in the nation with the largest numerical gains in population during the year beginning July 1, 2008. Since 2005, Houston has led every other American city in growth and, with three other Texas cities, accounts for four of the six cities in the country with the largest populations.
"The rise of Texas cities can be attributed to their relative immunity to the housing bubble burst and later recession that plagued other parts of the Sun Belt, the continued draw from immigrants and their mix of both new and old economy industries," says William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer.
The numbers are the last estimates for cities before the 2010 census is completed later this year. Data from that official head count will be used to redraw legislative boundaries and distribute more than $400 billion in federal aid.