Census: Population Changes

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Without immigrants pouring into the nation's big metro areas, places such as New York, Los Angeles and Boston would be shrinking as native-born Americans move farther out. Many smaller areas, including Battle Creek, Mich., Ames, Iowa, and Corvallis, Ore., would shrink as well, according to population estimates by the Census Bureau.

How Many Immigrants Are In The U.S.?

There are about 36 million immigrants in the U.S. About one-third are in the country illegally. The Census Bureau, however, does not distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants.

By How Much Did Immigration Climb In NYC And LA?

The New York metro area, which includes the suburbs, added 1 million immigrants from 2000 to 2006. Without those immigrants, the region would have lost nearly 600,000 people.

Without immigration, the Los Angeles metro area would have lost more than 200,000, the San Francisco area would have lost 188,000 and the Boston area would have lost 101,000.

What Are Some Highlights Of The Population Report?

• Atlanta added more people than any other metro area from 2000 to 2006. The Atlanta area, which includes Sandy Springs and Marietta, Ga., added 890,000 people, putting its population at about 5.1 million.

• On a percentage basis, St. George in southwest Utah was the fastest growing metro area from 2000 to 2006. St. George's population jumped by 40 percent, to 126,000. The next highest percentage increases were in Greeley, Colo., Cape Coral, Fla., Bend, Ore., and Las Vegas.

• The New Orleans area, still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, lost nearly 290,000 people from 2005 to 2006, reducing its population to just over 1 million. The Gulfport-Biloxi area in Mississippi, also hit hard by Katrina, lost nearly 27,000 people, dropping its population to 227,900.

• Parts of the Rust Belt also had large declines. The Pittsburgh metro area led the way, losing 60,000 people from 2000 to 2006.

What Is A Metropolitan Area?

According to the Census, metro area contains a core urban area of 50,000 or more population, and a micro area contains an urban core of at least 10,000 (but less than 50,000) population. Each metro area consists of one or more counties and includes the counties containing the core urban area, as well as any adjacent counties that have a high degree of social and economic integration (as measured by commuting to work) with the urban core.

Which Are The Fastest Growing U.S. Metro Areas?

The 50 fastest-growing metro areas were almost evenly distributed between just two regions — 23 in the West and 25 in the South. One metro area, Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.-Mo., straddled both the South and Midwest regions. The top cities include:
  • St. George, Utah
  • Greeley, Colo.
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.
  • Bend, Ore
  • Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev.
  • Provo-Orem, Utah
  • Naples-Marco Island, Fla.
  • Raleigh-Cary, N.C
  • Gainesville, Ga.
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • To Learn More About Immigration:

    • To see how your city has changed, click here.

    • To read the full report, click here.

    • Click here to read more about this study.

    • To read more detailed statistical data from the Census, click here.

    • For the latest detailed look at the nation's rapidly changing and diverse population with the release of new population profiles by race, Hispanic origin, ancestry and age, click here.

    • The Center For Immigration Studies has additional information.