Census Growth

New Census Bureau numbers show Comal County ranked the second fastest growing county in the nation for percentage growth from 2017 to 2018. This marks the second year in a row Comal has ranked second fastest in percentage growth. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION by Mikala Compton.

Comal County growth isn’t slowing down. New Census Bureau numbers released early Thursday show Comal held at the second fastest growing county in the nation for year over year percentage growth from 2017 to 2018. 

This marks the second year in a row Comal has ranked second fastest in percentage growth.

Comal County’s population grew by 5.4% from 2017 to 2018, from 140,790 people to 148,373 people — or by about 7,500 people. 

“Counties with the largest numeric growth are all located in the south and the west, with counties in Texas taking four out of the top 10 spots,” states a Census Bureau press release Thursday morning. 

The only county to be growing at a faster percentage than Comal is Williams County in North Dakota, which saw a 5.9% increase from 2017 to 2018, from 33,395 people to 35,350 people. 

Comal County’s status doesn’t surprise Michael Meek, president and CEO of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce. Meek pointed out Comal County and New Braunfels have been consistently in the top 10% of population growth for a decade now.

“Our role is to assist with the commercial and industrial growth of the community,” Meek said. “Population growth is coming; we don’t promote that.  Local governmental entities need tax base, and the more you have from commercial and industrial tax base will lessen the amount needed from property owners and renters.”

Four Texas counties ranked in the top 10 for fastest percentage growth, with Kaufman County ranking at third, Midland County at sixth and Hood County at ninth.

“Texas has become the most popular state for growth in the nation and the Austin-San Antonio Corridor is one of the fastest growing areas in Texas,” Meek said. 

This is because Texas enjoys a low cost of living compared to other states and has a pro-business environment, Meek said. 

“Add to that great public schools in this area plus easy access to major cities and you have a formula for consistent population growth,” Meek said.

Florida had three counties rank in the top 10 for percentage growth, with Walton County at fifth, Osceola County at seventh and St. John’s County at eight. No other state had more than one county rank in the top 10. 

For percentage growth from the last census taken in 2010 to the new 2018 data, Comal ranks sixth overall, with a 36.8% increase. 

“We don’t have any reason to think (the growth) will slow down any time soon,” said Comal County Judge Sherman Krause.

The 2010 Census data shows Comal had a population of 108,485 people in 2010. That means as of July of 2018, there are approximately 40,000 more people living in Comal County than there were in April of 2010. 

Krause said over the past eight years he’s noticed the growth the same way everyone else in the area has — there’s more traffic on Comal’s streets, more crowds at restaurants, more people in the grocery store, “and fewer and fewer people that I recognize in stores and restaurants,” he said. 

Hays County ranks second for this same eight-year period, with 41.7% growth from 157,099 people to 222,631 people. 

Two other Texas counties were in the top 10 for percentage growth from 2010 to 2018; Kendall County at seventh, and Fort Bend County at tenth. 

For the largest numeric population growth, Harris County in Texas ranked first from 2017 to 2018, growing by 605,431 people from 4.664 million to 4.698 million people. 

Three other Texas counties also ranked in the top 10 for numeric population growth from 2017 to 2018, including Tarrant County at sixth, Bexar County at seventh, and Dallas County at eighth.

Texas had two of the top 10 heaviest populated metropolitan areas as of 2018, including the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area, which is the fourth heaviest populated city in the U.S. with 7.53 million people, and the Houston-Woodlands-Sugarland area, which is the fifth heaviest at 6.99 million people.

The Dallas-Fort-Worth-Arlington area ranked as the first fastest growing metropolitan area from 2017 to 2018 by numeric growth, gaining 131,767 people to take its population from 7.40 million to 7.53 million.

The Houston-Woodlands-Sugarland area ranked third for this same category, gaining 91,689 people to take its population from 6.90 million to 6.99 million. The Austin-Round Rock area was the only other Texas area to rank in this category as the seventh fastest growing metropolitan area from 2017 to 2018, gaining 53,086 people to take its population from 2.11 million to 2.16 million.

“Though no new metro areas moved into the top 10 largest areas, Phoenix, Seattle, Austin, and Orlando all experienced numeric increases in population since 2010, rivaling growth in areas with much larger populations,” said Sandra Johnson, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s Population Division in a press release. “This trend is consistent with the overall growth we are seeing in the south and the west.”

Midland ranked as the fastest growing metropolitan area in the nation in percentage growth from 2017 to 2018, with a 4.3% growth rate. Odessa ranked fifth, with a 3.2% growth rate.

“Two of the 10 fastest-growing metro areas in 2018 are in Texas: Midland, Texas (first), with a growth of 4.3% (7,383) and Odessa, Texas (fifth), with a growth of 3.2% (4,951),” stated a Census Bureau press release. “Positive domestic migration contributed to the growth in both areas.”

From 2010 to 2018, Texas secured the top two spots for numeric growth, with the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area taking the lead seat, and the Houston-Woodlands-Sugarland area taking second. The Austin-Round Rock area also ranked in the top-10, at ninth.

All this growth means it’s more important than every the county continues to plan for the future, Krause said.

“(We must keep) planning for growth by developing a facilities plan to address infrastructure needs, by discussing better ways to build and maintain county roads, by planning for staffing needs, and addressing the way we do things from contracting out some services to using technology to better provide information and services,” Krause said. 

Texas had two metropolitan areas rank in top-10 for percentage growth from 2010 to 2018; Austin-Round Rock ranked third with 26.3% growth, and Midland ranked fourth with 25.9% growth.

“In the coming months, the Census Bureau will release 2018 population estimates for cities and towns, national-, state- and county-level housing unit estimates, as well as national, state and county population estimates by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin,” the press release stated. 


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