The biggest cities in the United States keep getting bigger. For what may be the first time, the country has 10 different cities with at least 1 million residents.
Each of the country’s 10 biggest cities saw populations rise last year, according to new Census figures released Thursday. These increases ranged from the sizable jump in Houston (which had 35,700 more residents in July 2014 than it did a year earlier) to the much smaller jump in Chicago (which added — ahem — 82 people over the same span).
But the most noteworthy change happened in San Jose, which recently topped 1 million residents for the first time.
Apparently it actually passed that mark in 2013, but when the Census Bureau released its 2013 estimates last year, it still had San Jose in the six-digit range; the newest numbers include a revision for 2013, which means we actually had 10 cities with a million residents each two years ago.
New York remains far and away the biggest city in the country, with almost as many residents as the next three biggest cities combined, and the city added 52,700 residents last year.
But we need to put that into perspective. Most of the cities and towns in this country have relatively small populations. More than 90 percent of municipal governments cover populations of less than 25,000 people, according to the National League of Cities.
There are only 749 cities or towns with north of 50,000 residents, which may seem like a lot, until you consider that those places are just 3.8 percent of the total number of cities and towns in the country.
In other words, New York City added more residents in a single year than live in the overwhelming majority of the country’s other cities or towns. (New York is crowded. Don’t go to New York. Why would you go to New York? Follow the crowd, head to one of the other fast-growing cities like Denver or maybe romantic Orlando.)
The new numbers released by the Census on Thursday included another interesting tidbit: New Orleans is again among the 50 most-populated cities in the country, rejoining that list for the first time since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.
Census figures showed that the population of New Orleans dropped 29 percent in the five years after Katrina, falling to 343,829 people by 2010. Now, the city has more than 384,300 residents.