It’s always interesting to see what areas of America are growing faster than others — it ties back to where jobs are, where quality of life is perceived to be highest, and where the ideas of the city about attracting people line up with the wants of those being courted. Turns out that big cities (1 million-plus) are growing faster (3.2 percent) than the national average (2.4 percent) across the period of 2010 to 2013. The highest growth was Austin, TX — 9.7 percent in that span, or essentially four times the national average — which lines up with the idea that big college towns not necessarily on coasts might be the future innovation hubs of America. In fact, No. 2 on the list is Raleigh, NC — same situation as Austin in some respects — which had a 7.4 growth rate. Houston, San Antonio, Orlando, Denver and Dallas were the other major metro areas that grew more than six percent in that span; this lines up with some current thinking on where jobs may actually be located.
Here’s something interesting that you may be able to tie back to water issues (or heat): Las Vegas, which grew by 85 percent during the 1990s, and Phoenix, which grew at least four percent per year for 40+ years, were both down (Vegas 3.9 and Phoenix 4.9) over their recent historical trends.
The overall idea here is that “knowledge centers” (such as the Research Triangle and certain college towns that can retain their residents) and “energy centers” (such as Houston, Dallas, etc.) are the new “boom towns” of the early millennial generation. All told, it could — could — shift the future of American business hubs away from the coasts. (Hell, if Austin can fix its traffic problems, it might be the next Bay Area.)