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

'Sorry,' says man, 19, who opened fire at Florida high school
'Sorry,' says man, 19, who opened fire at Florida high school

The 19-year-old gunman who caused panic and fear at a Florida high school when he opened fire Friday morning said he was “sorry.” The gunman, identified as Sky Bouche, brought a shotgun onto campus at Forest High School in Ocala and shot a 17-year-old student in the ankle, deputies said.  The shooting happened on the day planned for...
2 Louisiana elementary school students arrested over nude Snapchat photos
2 Louisiana elementary school students arrested over nude Snapchat photos

Police in Louisiana arrested a female elementary school student who took nude pictures of herself, as well as her male classmate who shared the photographs through a social media app, WGNO reported. The students, who are enrolled at Bonne Ecole Elementary in Slidell, were charged with distribution of child pornography, the Slidell Police Department...
Florida commissioner allegedly fed, housed couple in exchange for sex twice a week
Florida commissioner allegedly fed, housed couple in exchange for sex twice a week

A Florida county commissioner was arrested Thursday on multiple prostitution-related charges after authorities said he housed and fed a couple in exchange for having sex with the man’s wife twice a week, The Tampa Bay Times reported. Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson, 71, was arrested Thursday by the Hernando County Sheriff&rsquo...
New Jersey state trooper indicted for pulling women over to ask for dates
New Jersey state trooper indicted for pulling women over to ask for dates

A New Jersey state trooper was indicted Thursday on charges he allegedly pulled over women on traffic stops to ask them out on dates, The Trentonian reported. Eric Richardson, 32, of Camden, faces charges including official misconduct, criminal coercion and tampering with records, the state attorney’s office announced. According to the six-count...
Top contract oversight official at Texas health agency resigns
Top contract oversight official at Texas health agency resigns

The top procurement official for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission has resigned — the fifth departure from the agency as it answers to multiple contracting flaps this month. Ron Pigott, deputy executive commissioner of procurement and contracting services, resigned Friday from the agency. Agency officials did not provide a reason...
More Stories