In the past decade, the American urban landscape has transformed remarkably, with certain cities emerging as meteoric growth hubs. The pace of their expansion is not just evident in their burgeoning skylines or swelling populations, but also in the shifting economic tides that bring prosperity to their residents. The consequent change in income levels becomes a pivotal metric of their success of these fastest growing cities in America.
Using data sourced from the Census Bureau’s 2021, 2016, and 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, we identified the fastest growing cities in the U.S. out of 500+ cities whose population is 75,000 or greater. At the same time, we analyzed the change in their household incomes over the last five years, 10 years, and from 2011 to 2016.
Read on to find out the fastest growing cities in America and how their levels of income have changed accordingly.
50 Fastest Growing Cities in America
The identify the fastest growing cities in the U.S., we measured the percentage growth in population from 2011 to 2016, from 2016 to 2021, plus the 10-year change from 2011 to 2021 (2021 being the latest data available from the Census Bureau). We scored these three factors of growth and combined the scores to assemble a list of the 50 fastest growing cities in America.
Below you’ll find a table detailing the top 50 cities that are growing the fastest:
The main geographic patterns one can see is that most of the fastest growing cities are located in the Census-designated Mountain division (for example, No. 1 Enterprise, Nevada, No.3 Buckeye, Arizona, and No. 6 Meridian, Idaho), the Pacific division (such as No. 2 Kirkland, Washington, No. 13 Irvine, California, and No. 22 Menifee, California), and the U.S. South region (such as No. 4 Frisco, Texas, No. 7 The Villages, Florida, and No. 7 Conroe, Texas).
Another interesting characteristic to look at is which cities experienced faster growth from 2011 to 2016 versus those whose fastest growth rate was from 2016 to 2021. Looking over the top 50 fastest growing cities in America, 29 of them experienced faster growth rates in population from 2016 to 2021. The other 21 cities experienced faster rates of growth from 2011 to 2016.
The Fastest Growing Cities and How Their Incomes Have Changed
Just because a city is a hotspot for population growth doesn’t necessarily means incomes grow too. First, we’ll focus on the five change in median household income from 2016 to 2021. Of the top 50 fastest growing cities in America, No. 3 Buckeye witnessed the largest growth in median household income over the last five years: From $58,711 in 2016, it rose by 44%, to reach $84,568 in 2021. The No. 22 fastest growing city — Menifee, California — experienced the second biggest growth rate, with its median household income increasing by 40.2%, from $57,598 in 2016 to $80,741 in 2021. Out of the 50 fastest growing cities, 14 of them have experienced a growth in median household income of 30% or more over the last five years:
- No. 3 Buckeye, Arizona: 44%
- No. 22 Menifee, California: 40.2%
- No. 26 Concord, North Carolina: 39.5%
- No. 42 Clovis, California: 38.9%
- No. 41 College Station, Texas: 37.3%
- No. 44 Port St. Lucie, Florida: 35.1%
- No. 7 Conroe, Texas: 34.3%
- No. 38 Orlando, Florida: 34%
- No. 40 Bend, Oregon: 33.5%
- No. 21 Fort Myers, Florida: 32.6%
- No. 6 Meridian, Idaho: 32.4%
- No. 19 San Tan Valley, Arizona: 30.8%
- No. 25 Kent, Washington: 30.7%
- No. 46 Fayetteville, Arkansas: 30.2%
Below you’ll find a table detailing the top 50 fastest growing cities in the U.S. and their respective growth rates for median household income:
Next, we’ll look at the change in mean or average household income. Often, but not always, a city’s mean household income is higher than its median household income due to the distorting effects of higher-income households. Nevertheless, mean household income and its change over the years are useful metrics, especially when comparing the gap between average household income and median household income. Below is a table detailing the top 50 fastest growing cities in America and their respective growth rates for average household income:
Not a single city out of the top 50 fastest growing experienced a decline in average household income over the last five years. However, several cities did witness a decline from 2011 to 2016:
- Lehigh Acres, Florida: -8.4%
- Enterprise, Nevada: -4.6%
- Buckeye, Arizona: -3.8%
- Pine Hills, Florida: -2.7%
- Santa Fe, New Mexico: -0.3%
It’s startling to note some of the gaps between the mean household income and the median household income in the 50 fastest growing cities in America. For example, the No. 2 fastest growing city — Kirkland, Washington — in 2016 had an average household income of $123,533 versus a median household income of $95,939, for a difference of $27,594. That gap grew by 88.8% over the last five years, so in 2021, Kirkland’s average household income was $174,091 versus a median household income of $121,998, for a difference of a whopping $52,093. A growing gap between a city’s mean household income and its median household income is suggestive of increasing income inequality.