May 21, 2024 - News

Census data show largest growth in NWA's small towns

Illustration of an upward trending line chart on a welcome mat in front of a house door

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Fayetteville was one of four cities in the U.S. to top more than 100,000 residents for the first time in 2023, according to the latest census estimates.

The intrigue: But the region's fastest-growing cities are its smaller towns. Centerton was sixth in the country for growth from 2022 to 2023 among cities with populations of at least 20,000, census data reveal.

  • It grew 11.2% to its 23,953 residents. Since 2020, the city has grown by 34.1%.

Why it matters: More people warrants more amenities, like Centerton's planned community center. We're watching how other NWA cities accommodate the growth.

Zoom in: Tontitown's population increased by 71.3% in three years — from 4,300 to 7,364.

  • Pea Ridge saw a 31.4% increase to 8,680 people.
  • Farmington's count rose by 28.7% to 9,761.
  • Lowell saw a 16.5% uptick to 11,466.
  • Prairie Grove was not far behind with a 15.9% increase to 8,186 residents.

The big picture: The region — Benton and Washington counties combined — grew about 8% from 2020 to 2023 for a total population of about 572,560.

  • The Arkansas Economic Development Institute at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock predicts NWA's population will reach 1 million by 2050.

By the numbers: Of NWA's four largest cities, Bentonville has seen the highest growth rate, rising by 9.7%, or 59,471 residents, from 2020 to 2023.

  • Fayetteville grew by 7.8% to 101,680, making it the second-largest city in the state behind Little Rock.
  • Rogers grew by 5.9% to 74,035 people.
  • Springdale grew by about 1% to 88,224.

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