The South is booming, beating out the West as the fastest-growing region in the country again last year – DAVID RAUDALES

DAVID RAUDALES

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DAVID RAUDALES UK

The South is booming, beating out the West as the fastest-growing region in the country again last year

Atlanta mansion with city skyline behind.

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The South’s population growth is accelerating, driving economic growth.Counties in Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia saw some of the fastest growth in 2023.The South saw its population grow throughout the pandemic, a trend not seen elsewhere.

The American South is on a roll.

Southern states, including Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina, are booming as their population growth accelerates, according to new data released by the US Census Bureau. Counties in the South had a higher average population growth rate than the averages for counties in other regions last year, according to estimates of the population as of July 1. Southern population growth is also driving major economic growth in the region.

The region grew faster, on average, in 2023 than it did in 2022, the Census data about counties shows. A large majority — around two-thirds — of the South’s 1,422 counties saw their populations grow last year. (In 2022, 59% of the region’s counties grew.) And the growth the region saw for counties was larger than the previous year. In 2023, the average annual change in population was 0.56%, rising from 0.31% in 2022.

While the West saw its population growth among counties slow in 2023 based on the average percent change, the Midwest and the Northeast saw their rate of growth pick up.

Six of the top 10 fastest-growing counties with populations of at least 20,000 were in Texas, largely outside Dallas and Houston, but also outside San Antonio. Counties outside Atlanta, in southern South Carolina (just north of Savannah, Georgia), and outside Richmond, Virginia, also made the top 10 list.

Booming economies with attractive job opportunities in Southern cities like Houston, Dallas, and Nashville are a big part of the draw, Business Insider’s Jacob Zinkula recently reported. Transplants are also attracted by the South’s more affordable housing and lower cost of living than that of many large coastal cities.

This trend isn’t new.

“The South is the only region to have maintained population growth throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” a Census Bureau press release from December 2023 said.

Almost half of US population growth since 1960 has happened in the South, in part due to the region’s high birth rate, according to a Bank of America report published in December 2023. The growth is both the result of a ton of domestic and international migration, and the fact that people who are born in the South tend to stay there.

Metro-level data also shows the booming South.

“The population growth in Florida’s metro areas underscores a larger trend of widespread population growth across the South, the nation’s fastest-growing region and site of all of the top 10 fastest-growing U.S. metro areas from 2022 to 2023,” a Census Bureau post from Kristie Wilder and Paul Mackun said. “The growth continued a pattern already clear the previous year when eight of the 10 fastest-growing metro areas were in the South.”

The movement doesn’t look like it’s slowing down. Seven of the top 10 cities Redfin.com users searched were in the South, according to a Redfin report published last year.

Read the original article on Business Insider