Estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau show most urban centers in Texas experienced population growth in the two years since the official 2010 census.
The only metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the state showing a population decline was Wichita Falls. The Wichita Falls MSA consists of Archer, Clay and Wichita counties.
In a news release accompanying statistics, the Census Bureau pointed out that many urban areas experiencing the greatest growth were in Texas and the Plains states, especially in regions with economies driven by oil and gas.
Midland was the fastest-growing metro area over the July 1, 2011, to July 1, 2012, period, according to the release, with its population increasing 4.6 percent. Adjacent Odessa ranked fifth overall,
Midland and Odessa have enjoyed an oil and gas boom in recent years.
Austin came in seventh on the list.
Texas’ big cities continued to get bigger. Both Dallas and Houston were among a handful of U.S. cities to grow by more than 100,000 in the one-year period. San Antonio also showed substantial growth.
KevinPearson, interim president and CEO of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said figures showing a lower population for the Wichita Falls MSA don’t surprise him given the industrial plant closings the area experienced in 2009 and 2010.
“Some people found work elsewhere,” he said.
“We have some work to do. We have to overcome some things done in the past on recruiting industry,” Pearson said.
He said he senses some “pent-up demand” in companies that are holding billions of dollars in cash waiting for signs of economic improvement to restart expansion.
Pearson said Wichita Falls may benefit from that in the future.
He also pointed out that the city actually benefited from the boom in Midland.
The Ulm Corp., which specializes in transportation related to the oil and gas industry, looked at Midland for a location, but decided the job market there was too tight and wages were too competitive.
Instead, Ulm wants to locate in Wichita Falls, bringing 372 jobs over the next few years.
2012 metropolitan area populations
Austin 1,834,303 (1,716,289)
Dallas-Fort Worth 6,700,991 (6,426,214)
Houston 6,177,035 (5,920,416)
San Antonio 2,234,003 (2,142,508)
Abilene 166,963 (165,252)
Amarillo 257,578 (251,933)
Beaumont-Port Arthur 404,180 (403,190)
Brownsville-Harlingen 415,557 (406,220)
College Station-Bryan 234,501 (228,660)
Corpus Christi 437,109 (428,185)
El Paso 830,735 (804,123)
Killeen 420,375 (405,300)
Laredo 259,172 (250,304)
Longview 216,679 (214,378)
Lubbock 297,669 (290,805)
McAllen-Edinburg 806,552 (774,769)
Midland 151,662 (141,671)
Odessa 144,325 (137,130)
Sherman-Denison 121,935 (120,877)
Texarkana 149,701 (149,198)
Tyler 214,821 (209,714)
Victoria 96,620 (94,003)
Waco 256,317 (252,772)
Wichita Falls 150,829 (151,306)
2010 figures in parentheses