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Even the housing crisis has not stopped suburban sprawl. Urban centers may be retaining their populations better than in the past decade, but growth is still occurring outside of city boundaries. Since the start of the recession, thousands of people have moved to communities near employment hubs where housing is more affordable and outdoor amenities are available.
To identify fast-growth areas in each state, Bloomberg BusinessWeek worked with Gadberry Group, a population data and location analysis company in Little Rock, Ark. We only considered areas with more than 10,000 occupied households, rented or owned, in the city limits and surrounding areas (see note below). We identified 50 areas—one per state—based on factors including the increase in number of households, income, and household net worth.
Among the final 50, Buckeye, Ariz.; Lincoln, Calif.; and Spring Hill, Tenn., showed the fastest rate of growth in 2009: 10% on a year-over-year basis, according to Gadberry's data. Sioux Falls, S.D., gained the greatest number of new households: 2,110. Commercial districts, industrial parks, chambers of commerce, and economic development organizations had been established in many of these areas as a way to lure investment. A few areas in states such as Vermont and Pennsylvania saw only nominal growth in the last decade.
These areas are on the rise, but they were not immune to the effects of the recession. Buckeye was hit by a wave of foreclosures and saw the median home value drop more than 10% since 2008, according to Trulia. In Spring Hill, General Motors closed its plant and laid off 1,700 workers in November.
Overall, growth slowed nationwide last year but Gadberry principal Larry Martin says even in the recession, "there may be something going on in places you aren't thinking of."
Read on to see the fastest-growing city in each state.
Note: The area used in Gadberry's analysis and depicted in the maps is not intended to correspond to city or municipal boundaries. In most cases the area will include the city or town and surrounding areas contained within Census block groups associated with the city or place by the Census Bureau in 2000. As a result, the data and trends for the area may be different than those of the city, since growth often occurs beyond city boundaries.
All data provided by the Gadberry Group unless otherwise indicated.