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Cities in northwest Arkansas lead the state in population growth

Bentonville.jpg
Alfredo Carrillo
/
Flickr
Bentonville was ranked the fastest-growing city in Arkansas and the 28th fastest-growing city nationwide according to new census data.

Northwest Arkansas cities remain the fastest-growing in the state, according to new population estimates.

On Thursday, the U.S. Census Bureau released population estimates as of July 1, 2021, that show the fastest-growing U.S. cities are in the South and West. The agency also released housing unit estimates that show the nation’s housing stock rose by 1% from 2020 to 2021.

Among cities with at least 50,000 people, Leander, Texas, a suburb just north of Austin, was the fastest-growing city, with a 13.1% growth rate from April 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021.

“While only 4% of all cities and towns had a population of 50,000 or more in 2021, collectively they contained 129.3 million people – nearly 39% of the U.S. population,” said Crystal Delbe, a statistician in the population division at the Census Bureau. “On the other hand, of the 19,494 incorporated places in the United States, more than 75% had fewer than 5,000 people.”

Among Arkansas cities with at least 50,000 people, Bentonville was the fastest-growing in the state and the 28th fastest-growing in the nation, based on growth estimates from April 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021. Its population rose by 4.8% to 56,734, from 54,120.

Alison Wright, data center division head for the Arkansas Economic Development Institute, said seven of the top 10 cities ranked by numeric and percentage growth in the state are in Benton or Washington counties.

“We saw that when we looked at population growth by county, so it’s not surprising that we see that happening within the cities in those counties,” she said. “The data backs up what’s happening there.”

She added that some of the smaller cities in the area also are growing rapidly, including Tontitown, which grew by 1,300 people. Its population rose by 30% to 5,633 on July 1, 2021, from 4,333 on April 1, 2020.

Over the same period, the number of Arkansas housing units rose by 1.1% to 1.38 million, from 1.36 million. Benton County had the quickest housing unit growth in the state and the 31st fastest in the nation. The number of housing units in the county rose by 4.6% to 118,234 on July 1, 2021, from 113,087 on April 1, 2020.

Following shows the population change of the largest Arkansas cities:
Bentonville (4.8%)
2020: 54,120
2021: 56,734

Conway (2.3%)
2020: 63,656
2021: 65,121

Fayetteville (1.8%)
2020: 93,582
2021: 95,230

Fort Smith (0.4%)
2020: 89,177
2021: 89,576

Jonesboro (1%)
2020: 78,524
2021: 79,324

Little Rock (-0.3%)
2020: 202,514
2021: 201,998

North Little Rock (-0.7%)
2020: 64,633
2021: 64,162

Rogers (1.9%)
2020: 69,753
2021: 71,112

Springdale (0.2%)
2020: 87,441
2021: 87,609

Following shows the change in housing units in the largest Arkansas counties:
Benton (4.6%)
2020: 113,087
2021: 118,234

Craighead (2.4%)
2020: 46,739
2021: 47,884

Faulkner (2%)
2020: 51,685
2021: 52,709

Garland (0.3%)
2020: 52,326
2021: 52,471

Pulaski (0.8%)
2020: 190,510
2021: 191,962

Saline (1.1%)
2020: 51,878
2021: 52,437

Sebastian (0.7%)
2020: 56,749
2021: 57,150

Washington (2.6%)
2020: 100,508
2021: 103,116