Mar 30, 2023 - News

Austin's suburban growth slows

An aerial view of a neighborhood outside Austin. Photo: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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.

Between the lines: The fast-changing suburbs appear to determine the state's political fate.

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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