The Villages, the metropolitan area west of Orlando, FL, named for the retirement community located there, is the nation’s fastest-growing metro area for the third consecutive year, according to new U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released March 24.
The Villages’ population increased 4.3% between 2014 and 2015. It grew from 114,000 to 118,891, according to the bureau.
Five other metropolitan areas in the Sunshine State also made the top 20 list: Cape Coral–Fort Myers, Punta Gorda, North Port–Sarasota–Bradenton, Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford and Naples–Immokalee–Marco Island.
Five metro areas in Texas — Midland, Odessa, Austin, College Station–Bryan and Houston — also were among the 20 fastest-growing between 2014 and 2015. South Carolina also was well-represented on the list, with three metro areas partially or completely within the state being counted among the 20 fastest-growing between 2014 and 2015: Myrtle Beach–Conway–North Myrtle Beach, SC/NC (which ranked second nationally), Hilton Head Island–Bluffton–Beaufort and Charleston–North Charleston.
Houston, Austin and Orlando were the only three metro areas nationwide to be among both the 20 with the largest numeric gains and the 20 fastest growing (percentage gain) between 2014 and 2015.
North Dakota was home to each of the four fastest-growing counties (among those with populations of 10,000 or more in 2015) between 2014 and 2015. McKenzie (16.7% population growth) led, followed by Williams, Mountrail and Stark. McKenzie passed the 10,000-person threshold in 2014 for the first time. Eight of the 20 fastest-growing counties were located in Texas, however, with three more in Florida and two in Utah.