Killeen ranked as the sixth fastest-growing city in the United States over the past year, according to figures released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Census Bureau estimated an increase of 6,830 residents in Killeen during the past 12 months, placing the city's population at 112,434 and making it the 222nd largest city in the country.
That growth rate of 6.5 percent placed Killeen as the second-fastest growing city in Texas behind third-place McKinney, north of Dallas. The growth rates were for cities with populations of more than 100,000.
"Obviously part of that increase has got to be attributed to growth out of Fort Hood and the indirect jobs that are created out of increased troop strength and Fort Hood," said Bill Parry, executive director of the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance and former Fort Hood garrison commander.
Figures comparing July 1, 2007, estimates to the last official census showed a growth rate of 28.5 percent for the city, up almost 25,000 residents over the past seven years from an adjusted population count of 87,531 in the 2000 census.
Parry said the increase validates the city's projection that the population will continue to grow until 2030. He said the growth brings economic benefits for the region.
Other Texas cities also showed rapid growth:
Houston added the most people, with 38,932 new residents.
San Antonio, Fort Worth and Austin also were among the top 10 in numerical increases, finishing third, fourth and eighth respectively.
Denton was among the top in percentage increases, rounding out the top 10 with growth at 4.7 percent.
Outside of Texas, the big story is New Orleans.
The bureau report showed New Orleans as the fastest-growing large city in the nation last year, but it's population is still about half what it was before Hurricane Katrina.
Between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, its population jumped 13.8 percent to 239,124, according to the bureau's latest statistics.
That's just more than half the 453,726 people living there about two months before Katrina devastated the city and led to a near-total evacuation in August 2005.
The size of New Orleans' population has been debated since post-storm recovery began.
The Census Bureau estimated New Orleans' population by looking at its available housing units, along with building permits, construction without building permits and mobile home shipments. The data don't differentiate temporary laborers and others involved in recovery efforts who might not stay there.
Demographer Greg Rigamer said he believes the city currently has 315,000 to 320,000 residents, estimated by utility and water hookups, mail delivery and other public service accounts.
But Rigamer said the population report doesn't make New Orleans a boom town.
"We aren't fast-growing," he said. "We're recovering. It's good people are coming back, but you can't put us in with Houston. Come on."
Because of a year's delay on the figures, the population effects of current economic trends – like the real estate slowdown and high gas prices – aren't yet known, said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.
The Census report also found:
The consolidated metropolitan area of Nashville-Davidson County, Tenn., became the 25th largest city with 590,807 residents. Washington, D.C., fell out of the top 25.
Cleveland had the largest numerical decline in population over the latest year, losing 5,067 residents, followed by Columbus, Ga.; Baton Rouge, La.; Philadelphia and Baltimore. Cleveland also had the second greatest rate of loss over seven years, losing 8.3 percent of its population to stand at 438,042.
Source: Kileen Daily Herald - http://www.kdhnews.com/news/story.aspx?s=26489