AUSTIN (KXAN) - The U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday validated what most people here had figured out long ago: Austin is among the nation's fastest-growing cities.
Texas' capital city also shot from the 13th largest U.S. city to No. 11, and the state led the nation in overall population growth for the year that ended July 1, 2012, the Census Bureau said.
"The fastest-growing municipalities are spread across Texas, from the High Plains of West Texas to the Houston suburbs," the federal agency said on its website. "San Marcos, along the Interstate 35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio, had the highest rate of growth among all U.S. cities and towns with at least 50,000 people."
In fact, half of the 10 large cities with the biggest jumps in population are in Texas: Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth. The Austin suburbs of Cedar Park and Georgetown also made the list of the nation's fastest-growing cities
At a Leadership Austin breakfast earlier this month, real estate experts said the steady growth in population is putting a strain on Austin's housing supply and limiting the ability of many people to purchase a home.
Pete Dwyer, a veteran real estate developer, said at the May 1 event that the city's supply of available housing is the lowest in years. With more people moving in each month, demand for housing is growing fast.
That means higher prices, he said. And that means people with higher incomes are buying homes that would ordinarily be available for people of more modest incomes.
"Austin is everybody's darling right now," he said.
Dwyer was on a panel with Paul Hilgers, president of the Austin Board of Realtors, and Frank Fernandez, who runs a nonprofit geared to bringing in more affordable housing to Austin.
"The cost of housing has gone up 10 percent since last year at this time," Hilgers said. "The pressures are obvious. When people put their home up for sale they're getting four and five offers that day."
According to Census figures, Austin added nearly 25,400 people during the period measured. That ranks No. 5 in the nation, and No. 3 in Texas. New York posted the biggest gains with just more than 67,000 new residents. Houston came in second with 34,625; Lost Angeles third at almost 34,500 and San Antonio fourth with almost 25,400.
The additional 25,000-plus people would put Austin's population at nearly 850,000. Travis County's population was estimated at nearly 1.1 million, up from 1. 02 million in 2010. Williamson County's population was estimated at 456,000, up from 423,000 two years earlier.
Texas' population was estimated at 26.06 million, up from just over 23.14 million in 2010.
Sub-freezing temperatures and an approaching upper level disturbance could combine to produce some patchy freezing drizzle or sleet Saturday and early Sunday morning.
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Back in June, Governor Rick Perry signed a new law officially letting teachers and students use greetings such as "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hannukah" in school, all without getting in any trouble.
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The Austin Humane Society reopened to the public Friday after closing its doors for six weeks.
Sub-freezing temperatures will continue across much of Central Texas all day Saturday. A second disturbance associated with the winter storm that slammed Texas Thursday and Friday could lead to more freezing precipitation Saturday and …