SmartAsset, a financial tech company, has released a list of the fastest-growing cities with populations over 100,000 in the United States. That growth was based on the population difference reported by the U.S. Census between 2017 and 2022 for the 344 largest cities.
Southwestern cities, many of them desert suburbs, dominated the top of the list, SmartAsset found.
Nationally, it was Buckeye, Arizona, that has seen the largest growth since 2017. Located roughly 35 miles west of the heart of Phoenix, Buckeye’s population grew by roughly 48%, going from about 68,000 to 105,500 in 2022. Enterprise, Nevada, grew by 46% and Goodyear, Arizona, surged by 27%, rounding out the top three.
It wasn’t all southern cities that saw massive growth. South Dakota’s own Sioux Falls saw one of the largest spikes, with the population jumping more than 11% between 2017 and 2022. The city surpassed 200,000 during that time frame, Census data shows, and had the 29th-largest growth rate on SmartAsset’s list.
It was one of the largest spikes in population for cities in the region as well. Billings, Montana, was close at 7.1%. Fargo, North Dakota, saw a 1% increase in population while Cedar Rapids, Iowa, saw a 3.2% increase. Two other Iowa cities, Davenport and Des Moines, saw population decreases of 1.3% and 2.4%, respectively.
Three cities in Minnesota — Rochester, Minneapolis, and St. Paul — also saw increases of 5%, 0.7%, and 0.2%, respectively. Nebraska’s Omaha (4.4%) and Lincoln (2.8%) grew as well.
The table below, courtesy of SmartAsset, shows the cities where the population grew — and shrank — since 2017.
"In general we’ve seen positive growth indicators in the southwest besides just population," said Jaclyn DeJohn, Managing Editor of Economic Analysis at SmartAsset. "In fact, Texas and Arizona place second and fourth respectively in terms of where high earners are moving to. One thing that may be drawing high earners and others to these areas is relative tax-friendliness, and lower costs of living than coastal California and major cities."
Over 120 cities analyzed saw a dip in population between 2017 and 2022. That includes many major cities, like Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Portland, Houston, New York City, Des Moines, San Diego, Boulder, Milwaukee and Washington, D.C.
The hardest hit was Paradise, Nevada — the Las Vegas-adjacent town lost 21% of its population, according to SmartAsset's analysis. Others at the bottom of the list were Jackson, Mississippi (-10.4%); Aurora, Illinois (-9.4%); and Highlands Ranch, Colorado (-8.4%).