The 25 Fastest-Growing Places in the U.S.

These metro areas are attracting new residents at a rapid pace.

U.S. News & World Report

The 25 Fastest-Growing Places in the U.S.

San Antonio, Texas
Credit

(Getty Images)

Areas seeing a population boom

Where are people moving? When calculating the Best Places to Live, U.S. News factors in each metro area’s growth due to net migration over a five-year period. For the 2020-2021 rankings, we used U.S. Census Bureau net migration data from 2014 to 2018, the most recent complete data set at the time of our calculations. Places seeing the most growth attract new residents for many reasons, including a hot job market, affordable housing, a desirable location or some other factor. Read on for the 25 metro areas – out of the 150 most populous in the U.S. – that have grown the most over this period.

San Antonio, Texas
Credit

(Getty Images)

25. San Antonio

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 41
Metro Population: 2,426,204
Median Home Price: $212,992
Average Annual Salary: $46,650
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 5.34%

While San Antonio’s population growth due to net migration appears to be slowing somewhat, it remains one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the U.S. Between 2013 and 2017, this area grew by 6.6% due to net migration alone, according to the Census Bureau. Shifting that period to between 2014 and 2018, population growth has slowed to 5.34%.

Learn more about San Antonio.

Next:

Areas seeing a population boom

Where are people moving? When calculating the Best Places to Live, U.S. News factors in each metro area’s growth due to net migration over a five-year period. For the 2020-2021 rankings, we used U.S. Census Bureau net migration data from 2014 to 2018, the most recent complete data set at the time of our calculations. Places seeing the most growth attract new residents for many reasons, including a hot job market, affordable housing, a desirable location or some other factor. Read on for the 25 metro areas – out of the 150 most populous in the U.S. – that have grown the most over this period.

25. San Antonio

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 41
Metro Population: 2,426,204
Median Home Price: $212,992
Average Annual Salary: $46,650
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 5.34%

While San Antonio’s population growth due to net migration appears to be slowing somewhat, it remains one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the U.S. Between 2013 and 2017, this area grew by 6.6% due to net migration alone, according to the Census Bureau. Shifting that period to between 2014 and 2018, population growth has slowed to 5.34%.

Learn more about San Antonio.

24. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 11
Metro Population: 1,861,123
Median Home Price: $259,429
Average Annual Salary: $54,789
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 5.44%

Home to the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, Duke University and North Carolina State University, the Raleigh and Durham metro area has plenty of former students who are choosing to lay down permanent roots, while others flock there for the job opportunities offered by the schools and other local corporations.

Learn more about Raleigh and Durham.

23. Nashville, Tennessee

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 17
Metro Population: 1,864,138
Median Home Price: $263,625
Average Annual Salary: $48,370
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 5.55%

With growth numbers like this, aspiring country singers aren’t the only ones moving to Nashville. The largest metro area in Tennessee comes in at No. 23, having grown by 5.55% due to net migration between 2014 and 2018. Nashville ranks 13th out of the 150 metro areas on the overall Best Places to Live list for desirability, based on a survey of 3,000 U.S. residents that asked respondents where in the country they’d prefer to live.

Learn more about Nashville.

22. Fayetteville, Arkansas

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 8
Metro Population: 526,412
Median Home Price: $192,708
Average Annual Salary: $46,470
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 5.78%

Northwest Arkansas’ largest metro area continues to grow rapidly – by 5.78% from 2014 to 2018 due to net migration. Fayetteville’s growth has slowed a bit, as its population grew by 6.94% between 2013 and 2017 due to net migration, but it’s still drawing plenty of new residents with its low cost of living and consistent job opportunities.

Learn more about Fayetteville.

21. Charlotte, North Carolina

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 6
Metro Population: 2,473,125
Median Home Price: $231,233
Average Annual Salary: $51,000
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 5.83%

Growing by 5.83% between 2014 and 2018 from people relocating to the area, Charlotte attracts many newcomers drawn to job opportunities in the banking industry, as it’s home to Bank of America and major offices for Wells Fargo. Charlotte’s rapid growth, combined with high desirability among U.S. residents and a relatively low cost of living, leads it to take the No. 6 spot on the overall Best Places to Live list.

Learn more about Charlotte.

20. Jacksonville, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 43
Metro Population: 1,475,386
Median Home Price: $200,000
Average Annual Salary: $46,920
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 6.03%

The first of 11 Florida metro areas on this list, Jacksonville saw an increase in population of 6.03% from 2014 to 2018. Sunny Florida weather certainly attracts people to the state, but Jacksonville provides the added benefit of being a more affordable place to live than much of the rest of Florida. Jacksonville residents spend 23.94% of the area's median household income on housing.

Learn more about Jacksonville.

19. Spartanburg, South Carolina

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 35
Metro Population: 329,839
Median Home Price: $142,867
Average Annual Salary: $43,860
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 6.24%

This northwestern South Carolina metro area is the smallest among the top 25 fastest-growing places on the list, but with population increases like the 6.24% it experienced between 2014 and 2018 due to net migration, it may not stay small for long. Spartanburg is also an affordable place to live in the South, requiring just 21.18% of the area median household income to cover mortgage or rent payments, property taxes and utilities.

Learn more about Spartanburg.

18. Boise, Idaho

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 20
Metro Population: 693,952
Median Home Price: $221,475
Average Annual Salary: $45,470
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 6.34%

It may be the capital city of a sparsely populated state, but Boise has been a popular choice for many relocating within the U.S. for a few years. Between 2014 and 2018, the Boise area’s population increased by 6.34% due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Compared to other spots on this list, Boise's metro area remains relatively small with nearly 700,000 residents, although many locals are quick to note that the area is far more crowded than in previous decades.

Learn more about Boise.

17. Eugene, Oregon

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 76
Metro Population: 368,882
Median Home Price: $295,508
Average Annual Salary: $47,320
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 6.38%

The Pacific Northwest is a highly desirable destination, but housing prices in Portland, Oregon, or Seattle will have some balking at the cost of living. But farther south, people are flocking to Eugene, a smaller metro area that offers a similar lifestyle without the same density or housing costs. Between 2014 and 2018, Eugene’s population increased by 6.38% due to net migration.

Learn more about Eugene.

16. Charleston, South Carolina

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 42
Metro Population: 759,247
Median Home Price: $253,325
Average Annual Salary: $46,200
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 6.39%

Palm tree-lined streets, brightly colored historic buildings and ocean views make Charleston an ideal place to visit, so it's no surprise the largest city in South Carolina has experienced a booming tourism industry for some time. But plenty of visitors are clearly choosing to stay, as the Charleston metro area grew by 6.39% due to net migration over five years.

Learn more about Charleston.

15. Las Vegas

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 87
Metro Population: 2,141,574
Median Home Price: $276,133
Average Annual Salary: $45,600
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 6.4%

Las Vegas continues its upward trend with a growing job market and plenty of entertainment options to attract new residents. The Las Vegas area saw its population grow by 6.4% between 2014 and 2018 due to net migration. While people who have only visited Las Vegas for a conference or vacation will be most familiar with the Strip, most locals don’t find themselves in the peak tourism areas often.

Learn more about Las Vegas.

14. Tampa, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 36
Metro Population: 3,030,047
Median Home Price: $214,258
Average Annual Salary: $47,750
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 7.07%

With more than 3 million residents, Tampa is the largest metro area on this list. And it continues to grow: The area's population increased by 7.07% between 2014 and 2018 due to net migration. Many other Florida cities are experiencing rapid population growth, as there are still nine more Sunshine State metro areas on this list growing even faster than Tampa.

Learn more about Tampa.

13. Salisbury, Maryland

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 90
Metro Population: 399,013
Median Home Price: $238,342
Average Annual Salary: $43,170
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 7.19%

Another smaller metro area seeing a lot of growth is Salisbury, the most prominent city on Maryland’s Eastern Shore – the peninsula to the east of the Chesapeake Bay. With a median age of just over 45, the Salisbury area is a popular destination for retirees who like the mid-Atlantic but are drawn to a more small-town atmosphere compared to Baltimore or Washington, D.C.

Learn more about Salisbury.

12. Orlando, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 48
Metro Population: 2,450,261
Median Home Price: $245,483
Average Annual Salary: $44,930
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 7.69%

The home of Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando doesn’t just attract tourists hoping to see their favorite fictional characters up close. It also brings people who are planning to make this warm-weather destination their home. While Orlando’s growth has slowed after growing by 9.28% between 2013 and 2017 due to net migration, people are still flocking to the area, causing it to grow 7.69% between 2014 and 2018.

Learn more about Orlando.

11. Melbourne, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 28
Metro Population: 576,808
Median Home Price: $207,417
Average Annual Salary: $48,940
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 7.89%

Melbourne saw its population grow by 7.89% due to net migration between 2014 and 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and much of the interest in this Florida metro area comes from retirees. The median age here is 47.2 years, compared to the national median of 38.4 years, according to the Census Bureau.

Learn more about Melbourne.

10. Austin, Texas

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 3
Metro Population: 2,058,351
Median Home Price: $313,308
Average Annual Salary: $53,810
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 8.17%

For more than a decade, an increasing number of tech companies have established offices or headquarters in this Texas metro area, solidifying it as a hub for the technology industry on par with Silicon Valley, Seattle and other major tech cities. Austin’s affordability relative to the likes of pricey California metro areas such as San Jose and San Francisco drives many people to Austin for work. It’s a hot enough destination that the metro area grew by 8.17% from 2014 to 2018 due to net migration.

Learn more about Austin.

9. Fort Collins, Colorado

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 5
Metro Population: 338,161
Median Home Price: $381,358
Average Annual Salary: $51,050
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 8.34%

Fort Collins is a relatively small metro area compared to the likes of Denver or Colorado Springs, but it’s attracting its fair share of new residents, particularly for its low cost of living compared to bigger cities in the Centennial State. Fort Collins grew by 8.34% between 2014 and 2018 due to net migration.

Learn more about Fort Collins.

8. Port St. Lucie, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 73
Metro Population: 463,172
Median Home Price: $221,758
Average Annual Salary: $44,070
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 8.74%

Located along the Treasure Coast, Port St. Lucie attracts people looking for a place with plenty of waterways to explore and, of course, warm Florida weather. With less than a half-million residents, Port St. Lucie is more toned down and less touristy than places like Miami and Tampa. But the area is increasingly attracting attention, as the Port St. Lucie area grew by 8.74% during a five-year period, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Learn more about Port St. Lucie.

7. Lakeland, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 61
Metro Population: 668,671
Median Home Price: $181,533
Average Annual Salary: $42,090
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 8.91%

Located in the center of Florida’s peninsula, Lakeland is showing strong growth that mirrors the state’s coastal metro areas featured on the list. Clearly, people moving to the area are just as attracted to the many lakes that give Lakeland its name as they are the beach access in other parts of the state. Lakeland grew by 8.91% from 2014 to 2018 due to net migration alone.

Learn more about Lakeland.

6. Daytona Beach, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 74
Metro Population: 634,773
Median Home Price: $201,817
Average Annual Salary: $39,790
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 9.1%

Daytona Beach’s growth from net migration between 2014 and 2018 reached above 9%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The coastal metro area attracts plenty of tourists to NASCAR races and local beaches, but many of these visitors also appear happy enough to make the place their next hometown. Like many other spots on this list, Daytona Beach attracts many retirees and has a median age of 47.3.

Learn more about Daytona Beach.

5. Ocala, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 69
Metro Population: 348,371
Median Home Price: $152,442
Average Annual Salary: $38,690
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 9.18%

This inland metro area in Central Florida grew by 9.18% between 2014 and 2018 due to net migration alone. Residents of Ocala enjoy a relatively low cost of living compared to a lot of other Florida metro areas, spending 24.19% of the median household income on housing.

Learn more about Ocala.

4. Sarasota, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 16
Metro Population: 785,997
Median Home Price: $227,754
Average Annual Salary: $44,230
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 10.85%

With a median age of more than 52 years, Sarasota is a particularly attractive destination for retirees, even more so than other Florida locales. In fact, Sarasota ranks No. 1 on the Best Places to Retire ranking for 2020-2021. Sarasota grew by a whopping 10.85% in a five-year period due to net migration.

Learn more about Sarasota.

3. Naples, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 14
Metro Population: 363,922
Median Home Price: $326,900
Average Annual Salary: $46,290
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 11.11%

Located on the Gulf Coast where the Everglades begin, Naples receives a high score for its desirability and ranks No. 1 out of the 150 most populous metro areas in the U.S. on the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index, which asks residents about their overall happiness, community pride and sense of security, among other details. Naples grew by 11.11% between 2014 and 2018 due to net migration.

Learn more about Naples.

2. Fort Myers, Florida

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 58
Metro Population: 718,679
Median Home Price: $226,825
Average Annual Salary: $43,000
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 11.61%

Fort Myers is the No. 2 fastest-growing place on our list for the third straight year. The area grew by 11.61% between 2014 and 2018 due to net migration. Fort Myers’ growth is slowing a bit – its population between 2013 and 2017 grew by 14.42% due to net migration, according to the U.S. Census Bureau – but people continue to move here at a rapid clip.

Learn more about Fort Myers.

1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Best Places 2020-2021 Rank: 26
Metro Population: 447,775
Median Home Price: $184,675
Average Annual Salary: $36,950
Net Migration, 2014 to 2018: 14.27%

With less than 500,000 residents, Myrtle Beach is smaller than many places on this list, but it’s proving popular among people looking for a new place to live. Like many of the Florida metro areas on the list, this coastal South Carolina spot attracts plenty of retirees looking for warm weather year-round. The metro area’s median age is 47.2 years.

Learn more about Myrtle Beach.

The fastest-growing metro areas out of the 150 most populous in the U.S. are:

  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
  • Fort Myers, Florida.
  • Naples, Florida.
  • Sarasota, Florida.
  • Ocala, Florida.
  • Daytona Beach, Florida.
  • Lakeland, Florida.
  • Port St. Lucie, Florida.
  • Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Austin, Texas.

See full list.

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Updated on Nov. 12, 2020: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.