AUSTIN (KXAN) – Five counties in Texas grew by more than 25,000 residents from 2020 to 2021, newly-released data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows.
The agency published its July 1, 2021 population estimates Thursday. Williamson, Travis and Hays Counties all appear in the 10 counties that added the most residents. Of the 254 counties in Texas, 169 saw an increase in population, while 85 had a population decline.
Kaufman County, southeast of Dallas, grew at the fastest rate of any county in the state — 8.57%, adding 12,458 new residents between 2020 and 2021. Comal, Rockwall, Liberty and Hays Counties comprise the rest of the top five fastest-growing counties.
Loving County, west of Midland/Odessa, had the largest percent decrease in population, declining by 10.94% from 64 to 57 total residents.
When looking at raw numbers, Collin County, north of Dallas, had the largest population increase, with almost 45,000 new residents. Dallas County saw the largest population decrease, losing 27,489 residents between 2020 and 2021.
Among Texas’ 10 largest counties, three saw a greater number of people move out of the county than into the county. Harris and Dallas Counties both lost more than 40,000 residents to outward migration, and El Paso County saw more than 3,000 residents move elsewhere.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, migration accounted for the majority of population growth in the suburb counties of Collin, Denton and Fort Bend. All saw around 30,000 people move into the county from elsewhere.
Texas Metropolitan Areas
Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown is the fastest-growing metro area in the state, according to the census data. The metro, which encompasses Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties, grew by 3.02% between 2020 and 2021, adding almost 70,000 residents in total.
The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area added the most new residents overall, increasing by more than 120,000. The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro added more than 80,000.
Of the 25 metro areas in Texas, six saw a drop in population. Odessa lost 4,080 residents between 2020 and 2021, the most of any metro.
Counties in the KXAN Viewing Area
Hays County is the fastest-growing county in the KXAN viewing area, with a population increase of 5.94% between 2020 and 2021. Williamson County grew by 5.58%, and Bastrop County’s population increased by 4.98%. Travis County grew by 1.16%.
Mason County is the only local county to see a drop in population, down by 0.25%.
In terms of total residents, Williamson County had the largest increase, more than 34,000. Travis County added about 15,000 residents, and Hays County grew by 14,330.
Migration accounted for much of the population growth in the five-county Austin metro area. In Bastrop County, for example, 97.25% of all population growth was due to people moving in from elsewhere. Overall, 79.76% of the metro area’s population increase was because of migration.
Texas County Rankings
Harris County remains the largest county in Texas, accounting for 16.01% of the statewide population, down slightly from 16.23% in the 2020 Census. Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis Counties comprise the rest of the top five largest counties.
None of the top 15 largest counties changed rankings. Galveston County overtook Nueces County, becoming the 16th largest county in the state.
Concho, Coke and Hudspeth Counties all jumped by 4 spots in the largest counties ranking, at 213rd, 214th and 216th respectively. Meanwhile, Reagan County, west of San Angelo, fell the most places in the ranking, from 212th to 220th.
Loving County remains the smallest county in Texas, with just 57 residents.
U.S. State Populations
The population of the United States grew by more than 444,000 between 2020 and 2021, to 331,893,745. In total, 31 states saw population increases, while 19 and the District of Columbia had a decline in population.
Idaho grew at the fastest rate, increasing its population by 3.36%. Utah, Montana and Arizona all had population increases above 1.5%.
Texas added the most residents overall, more than 380,000. Florida’s population increased by more than 240,000.
Meanwhile, California and New York both lost more than 300,000 residents between 2020 and 2021.