Georgetown, Texas – with its population rising 7.8 percent in the 12-month period ending June 30 last year – is the fastest-growing U.S. city with a population of 50,000 or more, according to a new nationwide survey.

New estimates from U.S. Census Bureau released on Thursday, May 19 showed that 11 of the country’s fastest-growing cities are in Texas, while New York stayed as the most populous with a gain of 55,000 residents during the period.

Part of the Austin-Round Rock metro location, Georgetown crossed the 2-million population threshold in 2015 for the first time, according to earlier statistics. Its home state Texas covers four other fastest-growing cities on the list, namely Pflugerville, New Braunfels, Frisco and Pearland.

Five Texan cities – Houston, San Antonio, Fort Worth and Dallas – also partly make up the eight cities that added the most people.

This year, Denver joined the 20 most populous American cities, climbing up two spots to 19th place and displacing Detroit, which fell to the 21st spot. Apart from New York, each of the 15 cities gaining the highest number of people from 2014 to 2015 was in the West or South, with three cities in California.

The 10 fastest-shrinking cities, on the other hand, were spread around the South and Midwest, with Valdosta in Georgia seeing the largest drop with a 1.7 percent dip, from 56,665 to 55,724 residents.

Chicago distinguished itself as the only city among the 20 largest in the nation to actually lose population in the 12-month stretch, with nearly 3,000 fewer people living there compared with a year earlier.

A Chicago Tribune report sounded the alarm on this population drop, which is merely 0.1 percent but likely spells bad news for cities if they are akin to corporations that are hampered by lack of growth.

“While Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been campaigning hard lately to add new tourist attractions and make it easier for visitors to rent empty rooms in local homes, maybe he should be more focused on why there are empty rooms to begin with and how a shrinking, aging population reverses its fortune,” wrote writer Phil Rosenthal.

He noted, however, that the weather may not be the one to blame.

The report pointed to the city’s “faltering” systems such as its public school structure, corruption, gun violence and challenges that make for difficult living and working conditions. There’s also the matter of investment “amid so much uncertainty,” it added.

Read about the population change and rankings through the years here.

Photo: Anthony Quintano | Flickr

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