breaking news

Sean Spicer resigns as White House press secretary

Census: Austin metro hits 2 million mark again, this time for real


Perhaps the balloons and confetti fell a little too early last year when the Austin metro area celebrated surpassing 2 million residents.

Turns out, after some routine revisions to the U.S. Census Bureau data, Austin actually hit that milestone later than originally thought, according to new numbers released Thursday.

Specifically, the five-county metro area cleared that population hurdle by July 1, 2016 — with 2,056,405 people — not July 1, 2015, when the latest estimates put the Austin area’s population at 1,998,104 people. (Population estimates are typically released almost a year after the fact.)

RELATED: Williamson County growth among top 5 in Texas

Peter Borsella, a Census Bureau demographer, said the agency updates its estimates annually as new and more accurate data comes in. Borsella was less than sympathetic to Austin’s recalled-then-regranted victory.

“I understand you’re crossing a major population threshold, which makes it more noticeable, but changes like that from new data is not uncommon,” he said. “And relatively speaking those are very small changes.”

In the case of the Austin metro area, the 2015 estimate was revised downward by just 2,756 people. Only two metro areas in the U.S. saw no change in their 2015 estimates, an indication of how common such revisions are.

City demographer Ryan Robinson was equally unfazed.

“It wasn’t quite 2 million, but because we’re gaining 55,000 to 60,000 people each year, if we didn’t cross that threshold July 1 (2015), then we crossed it very soon after,” Robinson said. “So to me, it’s kind of splitting hairs.”

In fact, last year the Austin metro area — which includes Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell counties — was the fastest-growing major metro area with more than 1 million people, a feat it has accomplished every year since 2010. The Austin area grew by 2.9 percent between 2015 and 2016.

The numbers are on track for the Austin metro area to hit the 3 million mark — or very close — by 2030, Robinson predicted.

Mayor Steve Adler also took the news quite lightly. “I thought y’all had just lost weight,” Adler quipped. “It’s not important whether Austin crosses the 2 million mark last year or this year. We’re getting really big.”

But the discovery is another chance to contemplate the real-life implications of Austin growing into its own as a big city.

“It feels like there’s a whole bunch of folks out in traffic, bidding on the same house, and in front of me in the line at Franklin,” Adler said. “We need to better manage growth to preserve the spirit and soul of Austin.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Sean Spicer resigns as White House press secretary
Sean Spicer resigns as White House press secretary

White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned from his post Friday morning, according to multiple reports. His resignation came in opposition to the appointment Friday of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director, The New York Times reported.
Who’s the far-rightest of them all? On acing the Mark Jones lib-con score.
Who’s the far-rightest of them all? On acing the Mark Jones lib-con score.

(Texas House seating chart by lib-con score. The deeper the color, the more liberal or conservative the person in that seat. Olivia Krauth. Data and Online Projects Intern. Austin American-Statesman) Good Friday Austin: Among the very first stories I wrote as political writer for the Statesman was a January 2013 ...
Texas A&M is apparently home to a massive archive of ‘Game of Thrones’ memorabilia
Texas A&M is apparently home to a massive archive of ‘Game of Thrones’ memorabilia

It’s called “the Wall” (apparently) but a better name might be the Citadel. As pointed out by Texas Hill Country via Texas A&M today, the Texas A&M University Cushing Memorial Library holds George R.R. Martin’s literary archive, which includes: “Nearly anything from ‘Game of Thrones’ – swords...
JUST IN: 123 arrested across Texas, including 13 in Austin, in immigration sweep
JUST IN: 123 arrested across Texas, including 13 in Austin, in immigration sweep

Federal officers arrested 123 people – including 13 in Austin – across Central and South Texas during an eight-day operation that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said targeted criminals. PREVIOUS COVERAGE: U.S. judge: ICE said Austin raid was because of ‘sanctuary’ policy  The people taken into custody in the operation...
SPECIAL SESSION: Long line to testify on transgender bathroom bills
SPECIAL SESSION: Long line to testify on transgender bathroom bills

The line to testify on two bills to block transgender-friendly friendly bathroom policies began forming more than an hour before Friday morning’s 9 a.m. Senate committee hearing, extending down Capitol Extension hallways, wrapping around a stairwell and continuing on the next floor. Even with witnesses limited to two minutes to provide their...
More Stories