The latest US Census Bureau figures on population growth reveal the cities that are growing the fastest.

However, the places that made the list might be ones you’ve never even heard of.

Just look at Celina, TX, which ranked No. 1 for fastest-growing cities with a population of 20,000 or more.

From July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2023, Celina, part of the Dallas–Fort Worth metro area, saw its population grow by 26.6%, more than 53 times that of the nation’s growth rate of 0.5%.

“The list of fastest-growing cities includes a lot of smaller cities that are not likely to be on many people’s radar,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist of Realtor.com®.

“Smaller areas often top these lists because their smaller size makes it easier for them to see large percent changes.”

“However, the percent growth is a good reflection of how significant the change is likely experienced by locals,” she adds.

“In the top two markets, there were more than five people in 2023 for every four in 2022, and the third-ranked city saw growth very close to this pace.”

With a median home price of $679,999, people likely aren’t moving there for the cheap housing, but for the city’s hourlong commute to Dallas, high rankings for schools (most 8 and above on the Realtor.com schools’ rankings), and low crime rates.

Behind Celina is the city of Fulshear, also in the Lone Star State.

(In fact, 8 of the 15 fastest-growing cities belonged to Texas, which owns the top four.)

However, the places that made the list might be ones you’ve never even heard of. Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images

Fulshear isn’t cheap either, with a median home price of $519,000.

Fulshear’s growth is likely due to its proximity to Houston, merely an hour away.

“A strong jobs market, relative housing affordability, and robust housing construction are just some of the factors that have attracted people to Texas in recent years,” says Hale.

“Many companies are moving here for tax purposes, and there’s no income tax,” adds Wendy Flynn of Keller Williams in Texas.

“And there’s a variety of communities to live in, whether it is a bustling metropolitan area or a charming small town.”

“The list of fastest-growing cities includes a lot of smaller cities that are not likely to be on many people’s radar,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist of Realtor.com®. Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images

Rounding out the top five are: Princeton, TX (median price of $350,000); Anna, TX ($427,500); and California’s only showing, Lathrop ($741,600).

“Lathrop City used to be somewhat of a joke. Their claim to fame was a chicken wire factory when I was growing up,” says Tyler Drew, president of Anubis Properties.

“Then a few years ago, Tesla moved in a battery production facility on the outskirts of town, and suddenly it became a mini Silicon Valley. There’s now a whole new subdivision with STEM elementary and high schools. The planned communities around the battery factories and other tech businesses have their own private lakes and recreational facilities.”

Unsurprisingly, this Northern California city has the highest median price of the top five: $741,000.

Located in San Joaquin County, it’s a 15-minute commute to Stockton and a half-hour south to Modesto.

“However, the percent growth is a good reflection of how significant the change is likely experienced by locals,” she adds. Business Wire via AP

“It is technically considered an exurb of Stockton, but you wouldn’t know it from the prices of the homes,” Drew continues.

“Most of the homes in the new River Islands housing community are massive minimansions overlooking the San Joaquin River.”

Drew notes that Tesla recently laid off thousands of workers in California, many in Lathrop.

But “this has not stopped the influx of actual Silicon Valley refugees looking for more space and a lower crime rate,” he says.

“Despite the vastness and price points of California, many individuals still desire to live here,” says California real estate agent Chantay Bridges, of eXp Realty.

“Towns such as Lathrop give them the feel, the community, the price, everything they are looking for. The job market isn’t bad either. Families seeking shorter commutes and affordability are ready to place their offers and put their keys in the door.”

But surprisingly, this Northern California city wasn’t the most expensive on the fastest-growing list.

That distinction goes to Prosper, TX, with a median list price of $919,000.

Ten minutes south of Celina, this city is slightly closer to Dallas and Fort Worth.

“These neighboring cities [to Fort Worth–Dallas] offer lots of new construction across all price ranges,” notes Cindy Allen, an agent in Southlake, TX.

“Agents who work with a lot of incoming relocation buyers often joke, ‘new city, new construction,’ as newcomers appreciate the opportunity for new homes.”

The growth of the last city on the list—Athens, OH—is likely due to it being a college town, says Mike Wall of eXp Realty/EZ Sell Homebuyers.

“Being the home of Ohio University is a significant driver of population growth,” he says. “Universities often attract not only students but also faculty and staff members, and they can lead to the development of research facilities and startup companies.”

Housing unit growth is deeply tied to the cities that grew the fastest. California had the largest number of housing units (14.8 million), followed by Texas (12.4 million) and Florida (10.5 million), while Wyoming (280,000) and Alaska (330,000) had the fewest housing units, according to the report.

The largest numeric gains in housing units also saw Texas come ahead, taking three of the top five spots: Harris County, TX (36,000), Maricopa County, AR (36,000), Los Angeles County, CA (29,000), Travis County, TX (24,000), Collin County, TX (18,000).

Will Texas continue its astonishing population growth into 2024?

“That’s more debatable—the Texas housing market has shown signs of slowing as housing is more abundant there,” says Hale, citing recent Realtor.com data.

“This has reduced market competitiveness, and enabled down payments to drop in many Texas markets, even as they rise elsewhere,” she adds.

“Thus, while these areas attracted lots of new residents in 2023, they may not maintain their top spot when the 2024 data is out.”

  1. Celina, TX ($679,999)
  2. Fulshear, TX ($519,000)
  3. Princeton, TX ($350,000)
  4. Anna, TX ($427,500)
  5. Lathrop, CA ($741,600)
  6. Centerton, AR ($447,800)
  7. Haines City, FL ($338,000)
  8. Georgetown, TX ($499,500)
  9. Prosper, TX ($919,000)
  10. Forney, TX ($377,990)
  11. Kyle, TX ($375,000)
  12. Lebanon, TN ($484,900)
  13. Fort Mill, SC ($519,900)
  14. Leesburg, FL ($329,250)
  15. Athens, OH ($315,000)

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