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Latest U.S. Census Data: Fastest Growing Cities Are In The West And South


We all know there's a census taken every 10 years to keep track of the country's population. But the U.S. Census Bureau is actually always counting. It conducts population estimates every year to help gauge changes throughout the decade. This morning, just a minute after midnight, the Bureau released its latest population estimates, which show growth in some unexpected places. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: The Census Bureau numbers released today look at what happened from July of 2013 to July of last year. During that time, says demographer Sarah Gibb, the population of the country's largest city grew more than any other.

SARAH GIBB: New York remains the nation's most populous city. It gained about 53,000 people during the year ending July 1, 2014.

CORLEY: A bigger New York, maybe not a surprise. But here's what's different - San Jose, Calif., is now among the group of 10 cities with a million or more residents. And even though the top fastest-growing cities are located in the West and the South, when it comes to which cities gained the most in terms of actual numbers, there are two exceptions. In addition to New York, says Gibb, there's...

GIBB: Columbus, Ohio.

CORLEY: Yes, Columbus, Ohio, the capital of the state. Steve Schoeny, development director of Columbus, says the city is full of employers and thousands of college graduates who don't leave town.

STEVE SCHOENY: An environment where you have companies looking to attract the new generation of workforce. When they're already here, it's much easier to get people to stay than have to attract them from other places.

CORLEY: New Orleans is another city that saw a significant shift. The Census Bureau puts its population at a little more than 384,000. That means the city residents had to flee after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, is now once again one of the country's 50 most populous cities. Stephen Perry is the head of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.

STEPHEN PERRY: It's really one of the great success stories I think in modern American history because the city was brought to its knees.

CORLEY: There are 19,500 incorporated places in the United States. And while the latest population estimates may make it seem like most people live in big cities, it's actually quite the opposite. Seventy-six percent of those incorporated areas have populations of less than 5,000. Cheryl Corley, NPR News, in the country's third-largest city, Chicago. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Cheryl Corley is a Chicago-based NPR correspondent who works for the National Desk. She primarily covers criminal justice issues as well as breaking news in the Midwest and across the country.