If you love the idea of city living, but aren’t so much a fan of the drawbacks (traffic, pollution, noise, crime, that somewhat coldhearted attitude that comes along with many… You know—the usual) well, you’re not alone.
So it’s really no wonder that small cities are on the up and up. But not all small cities are created equal, and they’re certainly not all growing equally, either.
In this list, we’ll take a look at just which small cities are growing the fastest. And don’t you worry, we didn’t just pull these places out of our… hats. But we’ll get to the methodology in the next section. For now, here they are, the 10 fastest growing small cities in America:
Whether you want to get in while the going’s hot—or if you perhaps already live in one of these small cities, get out before the traffic gets too bad—that’s up to you. But first, read about our methodology.
We told you there was a method behind this madness! In this case, we simply had to look at the growth rates for cities over the last five years, according to the American Community Survey, released by the census every year. Specifically:
We ranked all small 3,031 cities in America with a population between 5,000 and 100,000 people from highest growth rate to lowest.
The city with the highest growth rate during this time was crowned the fastest growing small city in America. That’s you, Zionsville.
And for those of you who are a little rusty with their statistics, you can calculate the growth rate with the following formula:
[Population 2014 – Population 2010] / [Population 2010]
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of our 10 winners (or losers, depending on how you look at it.) First up, Zionsville.
Get this—the population of Zionsville nearly doubled over the four years included here, jumping from 13,444 to 24,559!
Why are so many people flocking to Zionsville, you ask? Well, it’s safe, it’s home to plenty of good schools, and it is adorable. For real—this community looks more like a small village than city, with a charming Main Street paved entirely with brick, dotted with small stores and restaurants.
Okay, this is nuts: In 2010, Kirkland’s population was under 48,000; just four years later, it was over 83,000, making it the 12th largest city in the state. And it’s still growing!
This probably has a little something to do with the plentiful jobs, the beautiful waterfront downtown boasting restaurants, art galleries, a performing arts center, parks, beaches, and, you know, bronze sculptures all over the place. Throw in the surrounding nature and relative affordability, and it’s no wonder this place is booming.
Cibolo is not only growing fast now; it has been for the past 16 years. Get this: in 2000, Cibolo had a population of just over 3,000 residents, and then in 2010, had a population of over 13,000. Cut to 2014, and this Guadalupe County city had a population of nearly 23,000.
This little city’s motto is “a place to imagine.” And that’s totally true—especially if residents were imagining the place blowing up in popularity over the years. Because it sure has.
In 2010, the population in Norcross was just 9,209. Then in 2014, it was 15,799. That’s an increase of 6,590 people—a 72 percent growth!
In recent years, Chamblee has grown by leaps and bounds, particularly for Asian Americans and just anyone who appreciates Asian culture. Parts of Chamblee have been described as Atlanta’s Chinatown, and according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chamblee’s “Chinatown Mall” is “Atlanta’s place for Chinese culture.”
Just how much has it grown? At a rate of 62 percent over four years. Not too shabby.
This Minnesota city started out in 2010 with a mere 7,661 residents. Jump to 2014 and the population has grown by 53 percent—up to 11,747 residents.
This city has a lot going on for it, especially its proximity to the Minneapolis—Saint Paul area.
Austin is one of the fastest growing (larger) cities in the country. By far. So it only makes sense that Hutto—a suburb of the capital city and much less expensive than its neighbor—would also see some growth over the years, right? Maybe a couple hundred, or even a few thousand more people trickle in?
Wrong. This city has grown by more than 53 percent over this four-year time span, hopping from 13,469 folks in 2010 to 18,839 in 2014. And that’s not even counting the past two years, which if it’s anything like Austin, have been insane in terms of growth, and only keeps getting bigger. So… that’s something to look forward to?
In recent years, this affluent city in the Dallas area has gone from tiny to… well, less tiny. It had a population of just 8,905 in 2010; four years later, it has increased by 4,330 residents, or 53 percent.
We’re betting this city could sure prosper from some traffic planning in the coming years.
In 2010, Sweetwater had a population of just 13,599. In 2014, however, it was 20,562. That’s a growth rate of 51 percent!
So who are these people rushing to live in “Little Managua”? Families, mostly. It’s an excellent community-oriented city, focused on school, religion, and family. I mean, it says it right there in the motto: “Family. God. Education.” Pretty much sells itself.
Last but not least is Burien. This Washington city has undergone huge growth in the past several years, jumping from a population of 32,743 in 2010 to 49,291 in 2014. That’s an increase of over 16,500 people!
So what’s the big deal about this city? Well, it’s charming—whether you’re in the (relatively newly) renovated downtown, or Olde Burien. It’s surrounded by some of the most beautiful nature in the country. And it’s just a short commute to all that Seattle has to offer. It’s the ideal not-too-big and not-terribly-expensive Pacific Northwest home base.
In just four years, each of these places has grown at a 50 percent rate, at least, and like it or not, soon enough these small cities might not be so “small” at all.
Ah well, you can always just keep moving to a smaller town. (But don’t tell them we sent you!)