Austin's suburban growth slows
The population boom in Austin's major suburbs is slowing, per new Census Bureau figures.
The big picture: Soaring real estate costs and the rise of remote work saw people by the tens of thousands relocate to areas farther out from the city center during the pandemic — but the rate of growth in Hays, Williamson and Bastrop counties slowed last year compared with the year prior.
What they're saying: "There are so many headlines with Austin not a very affordable place to be that that's all getting lumped together and people appear to be moving to other parts of Texas," city of Austin demographer Lila Valencia tells Axios.
- The pace of growth in some suburbs around Dallas, Houston and San Antonio is now outstripping the growth rate in Central Texas suburban counties.
Details: The Census Bureau released figures on Thursday that detail population change on the county level across the country between April 1, 2020, and July 1, 2022.
By the numbers: Hays County population growth was 5.9% between 2020 and 2021, but slowed to 5.1% between 2021 and 2022.
- Williamson County growth dropped from 5.6% to 4.2%.
- Bastrop dropped from 5% to 3.9%.
Yes, but: Central Texas suburbs are still magnets for people from around the country and also from Austin.
Why it matters: Areas that until a few decades ago were chiefly rural have had to deal with the growing pains of raising money for and building crucial infrastructure, from roads to playgrounds.
- School districts are grappling with how to retain and attract teachers amid a tight labor market.
Between the lines: The fast-changing suburbs appear to determine the state's political fate.
- Republicans remain firmly in control statewide, but some suburban counties that were once GOP strongholds have turned purple, with Hays County voting for Beto O'Rourke last fall and Gov. Greg Abbott eking out a win in Williamson County.
Zoom out: With last year's population surge, Texas became the only state other than California with a population above 30 million.
- Texas saw the most population growth among U.S. states between 2021 and 2022, per the Census Bureau.
Bottom line: We're big … and growing.
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