With an average of 15 new people moving to town each day last year, New Braunfels remained the second fastest growing city in the nation by percentage for the second consecutive year, according to data released by the Census Bureau early Thursday.
New Braunfels ranked number two on the list of the 15 fastest growing large cities (cities with a population above 50,000) between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018 in the latest Census Bureau data. With a growth rate of 7.2% during this time window, New Braunfels was projected to have a total population of 84,612 in 2018. Number one on the list was Buckeye, Ariz.
“I had a belief that we would be in those numbers again,” said Mayor Barron Casteel. “But everything we’ve seen in our community indicates that people are migrating here from everywhere.”
People are choosing New Braunfels for two reasons, Casteel said.
“One, it’s not a secret that New Braunfels is probably one of the more beautiful spots in the state of Texas,” Casteel said. “(The other reason is) they recognize the value of a community that tries to maintain its value and so that becomes an attractive place to live.”
City Manager Robert Camareno said he was a bit surprised to see New Braunfels held at second for its growth rate, although he predicted it would remain in the top 10.
“Certainly, growth in population does present some challenges, because we know with the growth in population, it will increase the demand for the services that we provide,” Camareno said. “However, I also think we do a good job of planning to meet those needs.”
It’s a double edged sword, Casteel said — trying to plan for the growth, maintain the growth and catch up to the growth makes New Braunfels even more attractive.
“What would be the opposite though? What would you do if you weren’t to do those things?” Casteel said. “If you were to do the exact opposite and try to limit investments or reinvestments in roads and utilities and if you were to make things more difficult to enjoy — I can’t imagine that would be a direction we’d want to go.”
President and CEO of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce Michael Meek said he wasn’t at all surprised by the numbers after seeing Comal County rank hold at second, which was announced last month.
“For sure thought we’d be in the top 10, and sure enough we’re number two again,” Meek said. “When I crunched the numbers ... more than 7/10 (or 74.1%) of the people that move to Comal County last year were in the city limits of New Braunfels.”
Six other Texas cities also ranked in the top 15 for percent increase growth, including Frisco at number four with a 6.8% increase and McKinney with 5.4%, according to the new data.
“Of course Texas is leading the nation in this, this is not some anomaly just because of New Braunfels,” Meek said. “You’ve got five of the top 10 that you saw the stats for were Texas cities, six of the top 15 were Texas cities.”
For overall numeric growth from July of 2017 to July of 2018, San Antonio ranked at number two, with an estimated 20,824 new people to bring its 2018 total population to about 1.532 million.
San Antonio remains the seventh largest city in the nation, second only to Houston in Texas, which has an estimated 2.325 million inhabitants. Dallas ranked ninth largest in the nation with 1.345 million residents in 2018, and Austin 11th, with just under 1 million. The number one spot went again to an Arizona city, this time Phoenix.
According to Census Bureau information, the south and west continue to have the fastest growing cities in the United States, based on this new data.
“Among the 15 cities or towns with the largest numeric gains between 2017 and 2018, eight were in the South, six were in the West, and one was in the Midwest,” Census Bureau staff said in a statement.
While only 4.0%, of 775, of all cities in the nation had a population of 50,000 or more in 2018, collectively they contained 127.1 million people — nearly 39 percent of the U.S. population, Census Bureau information stated.
“If you look at the 5,460 new (New Braunfels) citizens, the last census told us that the average household was 2.77 people, so that means — last year we needed 1,971 dwelling units for those people,” Meek said.
Twelve states added more than 150,000 housing units between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2018, with Texas ranking in at number one with 1.1 million units.
On June 20, the Census Bureau will release county population estimates by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin.