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The Fastest- and Slowest-Growing U.S. Cities

  1. Fastest-Growing Cities

    Fastest-Growing Cities

    Bloomberg Rankings identified the 10 U.S. cities with more than 300,000 residents that had the greatest population gains and losses from 2010 to July 1, 2011. We ranked the cities (in ascending order) on their percentage change in population.

    The average population growth for U.S. cities with more than 300,000 residents was 1.5 percent during this period. The 10 fastest-growing cities expanded by an average 3.1 percent—which, in the case of Austin, Tex., meant an additional 30,221 residents. The 10 cities on the rise also had an average unemployment rate of 8.0 percent, just shy of the national rate of 8.1 percent, and a foreclosure rate of 0.16 percent, slightly higher than the 0.15 percent national average. The 10 cities at the bottom of the list averaged only 0.1 percent growth, and four of them declined in population from 2010 to 2011. They had an average unemployment rate of 8.4 percent and a foreclosure rate of 0.19 percent, both well above the national rates.

    Photograph by Martin Adolfsson/Gallery Stock
  2. No. 10: Miami

    No. 10: Miami

    2011 Population: 408,750
    2010 Population: 399,457
    Population change: 2.33%
    Unemployment rate: 8.9%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.48%

    Miami's location and proximity to Latin America makes it a hub for international trade with that region. The city is tied with Atlanta for the fourth-highest unemployment, and it has the highest foreclosure rate.

    Photograph by Roberto A Sanchez/Getty Images
  3. No. 9: El Paso

    No. 9: El Paso

    2011 Population: 665,568
    2010 Population: 649,121
    Population change: 2.53%
    Unemployment rate: 9.5%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.05%

    El Paso's growth is tied to its real estate market, ranking third-lowest in foreclosure rate. It’s one of the largest metro areas on an international border and boasts one of the biggest military installations in Fort Bliss. The city ranks second-highest in unemployment.

    Photograph by VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm
  4. No. 8: Charlotte

    No. 8: Charlotte

    2011 Population: 751,087
    2010 Population: 731,424
    Population change: 2.69%
    Unemployment rate: 9.7%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.19%

    Charlotte is considered the nation’s second major financial center, behind only New York, with the headquarters of Bank of America (BAC) and locations of several other large financial companies. This city has the highest unemployment rate in the group and is fourth-highest in foreclosure.

    Photograph by Chris Keane/The New York Times via Redux
  5. No. 7: Washington, D.C.

    No. 7: Washington, D.C.

    2011 Population: 617,996
    2010 Population: 601,723
    Population change: 2.70%
    Unemployment rate: 5.5%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.00%

    Washington, D.C., has the lowest unemployment rate and, remarkably, no foreclosures. With many jobs, good transit, and a strong real estate market, the city is using the increase in commerce and taxes from its new residents to fuel its growth.

    Photograph by Jorge Fajl/National Geographic/Getty Images
  6. No. 6: Atlanta

    No. 6: Atlanta

    2011 Population: 432,427
    2010 Population: 420,003
    Population change: 2.96%
    Unemployment rate: 8.9%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.22%

    Atlanta, home to global companies including Coca-Cola (KO), Home Depot (HD), United Parcel Service (UPS), Delta Air Lines (DAL), and others, is sixth in population growth. It’s tied with Miami for the fourth-highest unemployment in the group and has the third-highest foreclosure rate.

    Photograph by Andrew Gunners/Getty Images
  7. No. 5: Tampa

    No. 5: Tampa

    2011 Population: 346,037
    2010 Population: 335,709
    Population change: 3.08%
    Unemployment rate: 9.0%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.31%

    Still hobbled by the Florida real estate market, Tampa has the third-highest unemployment rate and second-highest foreclosure rate of the 10 fastest-growing cities.

    Photograph by Brian Blanco/The New York Times via Redux
  8. No. 4: Raleigh, N.C.

    No. 4: Raleigh, N.C.

    2011 Population: 416,468
    2010 Population: 403,892
    Population change: 3.11%
    Unemployment rate: 7.8%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.06%

    Raleigh, a part of the Research Triangle with North Carolina State University, ranks fifth-lowest in unemployment and fourth-lowest in foreclosure among the growing cities.

    Photograph by Donovan Reese/Getty Images
  9. No. 3: Denver

    No. 3: Denver

    2011 Population: 619,968
    2010 Population: 600,158
    Population change: 3.30%
    Unemployment rate: 7.7%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.15%

    Denver is an attractive location for many industries, including aerospace, bioscience, broadcasting, energy, financial services, health care, and information technology. It has the fourth-lowest unemployment rate and sixth-lowest foreclosure rate of the cities listed.

    Photograph by Matthew Staver/Bloomberg
  10. No. 2: Austin, Tex.

    No. 2: Austin, Tex.

    2011 Population: 820,611
    2010 Population: 790,390
    Population change: 3.82%
    Unemployment rate: 5.9%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.04%

    Austin is the most populous place on our list of growing cities. The city, known as a hub for education, culture, and commerce, also has the second-lowest unemployment and foreclosure rates of the group.

    Photograph by David Sucsy/Getty Images
  11. No. 1: New Orleans

    No. 1: New Orleans

    2011 Population: 360,740
    2010 Population: 343,829
    Population change: 4.92%
    Unemployment rate*: 7.5%
    Foreclosure rate*: 0.07%

    No. 1 on our list, New Orleans has been rebuilding from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Its unemployment and foreclosure rates put New Orleans at third-lowest and fifth-lowest, respectively, when ranked with other growing cities.

    *Unemployment and foreclosure rates are as of August 2012. Foreclosure rate per housing unit.

    Photograph by Tim Klein/Gallery Stock
  12. No. 10: Los Angeles (Slowest-Growing Cities)

    No. 10: Los Angeles (Slowest-Growing Cities)

    2011 Population: 3,819,702
    2010 Population: 3,792,621
    Population change: 0.71%
    Unemployment rate: 10.3%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.18%

    Although L.A.'s growth is the best of these shrinking cities, its second-highest unemployment rate and fifth-highest foreclosure rate bode poorly for the city's continued economic development.

    Photograph by Markus Henttonen/Gallery Stock
  13. No. 9: Philadelphia

    No. 9: Philadelphia

    2011 Population: 1,536,471
    2010 Population: 1,526,006
    Population change: 0.69%
    Unemployment rate: 9.0%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.15%

    Philadelphia has seen modest growth in population, but it has the third-highest unemployment rate and the fourth-lowest foreclosure rate.

    Photograph by Travelif/Getty Images
  14. No. 8: Pittsburgh

    No. 8: Pittsburgh

    2011 Population: 307,484
    2010 Population: 305,704
    Population change: 0.58%
    Unemployment rate: 7.5%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.09%

    Pittsburgh is the smallest city on our list and could grow with an improving national economy. Among the 10 slowest-growing cities, it has the third-lowest unemployment and foreclosure rates.

    Photograph by Alessandro Cosmelli/Contrasto/Redux
  15. No. 7: Wichita

    No. 7: Wichita

    2011 Population: 384,445
    2010 Population: 382,368
    Population change: 0.54%
    Unemployment rate: 7.3%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.06%

    Wichita, the headquarters of Koch Industries, is second-lowest in unemployment and has the lowest foreclosure rate. The city's economic growth is dependent on manufacturing and industrial production.

    Photograph by Garry McMichael/Getty Images
  16. No. 6: Milwaukee

    No. 6: Milwaukee

    2011 Population: 597,867
    2010 Population: 594,833
    Population change: 0.51%
    Unemployment rate: 7.9%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.23%

    Milwaukee's stubborn unemployment and foreclosure rates place the city fifth-highest and fourth-highest, respectively, in our rankings.

    Photograph by Mark Brautigam/Gallery Stock
  17. No. 5: Chicago

    No. 5: Chicago

    2011 Population: 2,707,120
    2010 Population: 2,695,598
    Population change: 0.43%
    Unemployment rate: 8.8%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.34%

    Chicago's growth is far below that of other major U.S. cities. It ranks fourth-highest in unemployment and has the highest foreclosure rate. United Van Lines announced that more people moved out of Chicago in 2011 than anywhere else in the country.

    Photograph by Tom Nagy/Gallery Stock
  18. No. 4: Baltimore

    No. 4: Baltimore

    2011 Population: 619,493
    2010 Population: 620,961
    Population change: -0.24%
    Unemployment rate: 7.7%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.08%

    Baltimore ranks seventh-highest in unemployment and is second-lowest in foreclosures. Baltimore and Detroit are the only cities with a population of more than 500,000 to have declined in population.

    Photograph by Uyen Le/Getty Images
  19. No. 3: St. Louis

    No. 3: St. Louis

    2011 Population: 318,069
    2010 Population: 319,294
    Population change: -0.38%
    Unemployment rate: 7.8%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.17%

    St. Louis's unemployment and foreclosure rates put it sixth-highest in rankings for both categories. The city is centrally located and home to a variety of industries, such as manufacturing, health care, professional services, and retail trade.

    Photograph by SuperStock/Getty Images
  20. No. 2: Cleveland

    No. 2: Cleveland

    2011 Population: 393,806
    2010 Population: 396,815
    Population change: -0.76%
    Unemployment rate: 6.9%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.33%

    Although it has the lowest unemployment rate on the list, Cleveland is second-highest in foreclosures and second to Detroit in population percentage decline.

    Photograph by Christian Heeb/laif/Redux
  21. No. 1: Detroit

    No. 1: Detroit

    2011 Population: 706,585
    2010 Population: 713,777
    Population change: -1.01%
    Unemployment rate: 10.9%
    Foreclosure rate: 0.28%

    Detroit continues to feel the effects of the down economy, leading our list overall for population decline. Detroit has the highest unemployment rate among the 10 slowest-growing cities and the third-highest foreclosure rate.

    Photograph by Christian Burkert/laif/Redux