Fastest-growing American cities are mostly in the West. And then there’s Gaithersburg, Md.

Updated

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Vintage 2013 Population Estimates Release Date: May 2014
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Vintage 2013 Population Estimates
Release Date: May 2014

Seven of the 15 fastest growing cities in America are in the booming state of Texas, according to the annual ranking released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

And three of those eight are in the vicinity of Austin, the state’s capital city.

One of those three, San Marcos, population 54,076, holds the distinction of being the fastest-growing city for two consecutive years. Its population increased by 8 percent between July 2012 and July 2013 — the period covered by the survey. It grew 44 percent in the past 15 years.

The Associated Press reached the mayor of San Marcos, Daniel Guerrero, in Chicago, where he was recruiting businesses for his city. He attributed its growth to the presence of two of the nation’s largest outlet malls and Texas State University.

Growth has not brought wealth to San Marcos, however. Its median household income is about $26,000, compared with about $49,000 for Texas as a whole.

San Marcos is about 73 percent white, 36 percent Hispanic and 6 percent African American. (Update: Totals more than 100 percent according to Census Bureau because “Hispanics may be of any race, so also are included in applicable race categories.)

The only cities east of the Mississippi to make the fastest-growing list were Franklin, Tenn., Mount Pleasant, S.C., and Gaithersburg, Md., population 65,690 — up 4.4 percent since 2012.

Gaithersburg, in Montgomery County, is a suburb northwest of Washington, a commuter hub that has become a center of high-tech business activity in recent years and a magnet for the well-educated, immigrants and non-immigrants. Among its largest employers are the National Institute of Standards and Technology, IBM and Medimmune.

The median household income in Gaithersburg is about $81,000, according to census data.

Gaithersburg is about 50 percent white, 24 percent Hispanic, 16 percent African American and 17 percent Asian. (Complete totals are here. Exceeds 100 percent because “Hispanics may be of any race, so also are included in applicable race categories.”)

Money Magazine ranks it as the 23rd best smaller city in America.

Fred Barbash, the editor of Morning Mix, is a former National Editor and London Bureau Chief for the Washington Post.
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