Downtown Fort Myers Florida

The Top 15 Fastest-Growing Cities In The US

February 20, 2024 13-minute read

Author: David Collins

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One thing that has always been true about America is that people vote with their feet. The answer to the question “what is the most popular place to live in the U.S.?” has always been fluid, and it’s depended on the time in history. Mostly, it’s been tied to where the best economic opportunities existed. When we look at the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. today, this remains true.

In the early 20th century, for example, the booming industry in towns like Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh brought a great migration of southerners north in search of high-paying factory jobs. But by the late 20th century, many of these towns saw significant population decline as major industries began moving much of their manufacturing to cheap-labor countries overseas.

In response, a new migration began and continues to this day, much of it to smaller towns and cities in the southern and western states. These are places where new industries have boomed in fields such as health, insurance, financial services and, especially, high technology. Weather is a factor, too. The fact that most of these places have mild winters is likely not a coincidence.

The 15 Fastest-Growing Cities In America

In addition to a vibrant economy and mild climate, America’s fastest-growing cities are also affordable, with reasonable home sold prices and a lower cost of living. Low crime rates and good schools make these places attractive to families and retirees. Access to good restaurants, college or professional sports and national touring musical acts also help drive growth in these cities.

And these are not large metroplexes — only one of these cities has a population more than 500,000, and most of the rest are below 200,000. In fact, another common attribute that most of these towns have is an abundance of outdoor recreation nearby in the form of woods, trails and waters.  

1. Fort Myers, Florida

When it comes to where Americans want to live today, Florida is a popular choice. The Sunshine State was the #1 state in percentage population growth in 2022 at 1.9%. Even more specifically, it’s southwest Florida where people want to be. Two of the top three fastest-growing cities in the U.S. are there, and two more are just a short drive away.

What drives people to Fort Myers, Florida? Start with the year-round warm weather, the crystal blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the sugar sand beaches. From paddling to fishing to searching for seashells, Fort Myers has enough to keep young and old alike outdoors and engaged with nature. There is also a vibrant arts scene, great restaurants, distinctive neighborhoods and great parks. The median home sold price as of June 2023 is $361,130, but the growing GDP of southwest Florida is attracting business and investment at a pace to sustain it.

  • Population: 105,260
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 6.82%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 8.86%
  • Median household income: $51,682
  • Median home sale price: $361,130

2. St. George, Utah

Utah’s population (like many of the western mountain states) has grown faster (nearly 24%) than any other state since 2010, and much of that is due to the popularity of the southwestern town of St. George. St. George’s location between the Colorado Plateau and the Mojave Desert makes it an ideal jumping-off point for visitors seeking to explore some of the most breathtaking natural beauty anywhere in the world. Within a short drive from St. George, residents and tourists alike can visit the stunning Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks, the Grande Escalante National Monument and the Grand Canyon. Options for climbing, canyoneering, hiking and biking are limitless, and there are more than a few luxury spas in the region. The town itself is very family-oriented and has an excellent dining and arts scene, including a full Southwest Symphony season. The mild desert climate brings little rain, hot summers and mild winters.

  • Population: 108,535
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 4.20%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 7.58%
  • Median household income: $63,604
  • Median home sale price: $593,266

3. Cape Coral, Florida

Cape Coral is at the forefront of Florida’s explosive population growth. Known as the “Waterfront Wonderland,” Cape Coral is situated where the Caloosahatchee River meets the Gulf of Mexico. The city has over than 400 miles of canals – more than any other place in the world. Thousands of Cape Coral boaters have direct access to the Gulf coastal islands of Sanibel, Pine and Cayo Costa, as well as tremendous sport fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Kayaking and birdwatching are also popular recreational options in the area’s many wetlands and nature preserves. Cape Coral’s economy is growing at a robust 9%, it has a youthful population, and with plenty of buildable land available, the city’s population is expected to nearly double to 400,000 in the coming years.

  • Population: 221,997
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 4.19%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 8.86%
  • Median household income: $65,282
  • Median home sale price: $409,328

4. Round Rock, Texas

The population of Texas has been booming for seemingly decades, and in the years 2010 – 2023 it had the third-highest population growth among the 50 states. In the last 2 years no Texas city has grown faster than Round Rock. While independent of Austin, the city certainly enjoys the benefits of its proximity to the dynamic state capital, which is also home to the University of Texas. Round Rock boasts the highest GDP growth metric of any city on our list. The local economy benefits from the presence of PC manufacturer Dell Corporation, which employs 16,000 people at its headquarters and supports tens of thousands more throughout Texas. Round Rock is not a suburb — it has its own historic downtown with shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Other shopping destinations include an IKEA store and the 120-store Round Rock Premium Outlets.

  • Population: 130,919
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 2.80%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 10.55%
  • Median household income: $86,587
  • Median home sale price: $432,248

5. Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Located in the heart of Tennessee, Murfreesboro has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the state for the last 30 years. As the home of the state’s largest undergraduate university, Middle Tennessee State, the town has its own identity — but the short 30-minute drive from Nashville certainly lends Murfreesboro a little more shine. The Music City is one of the most dynamic and rapidly growing metroplexes in the United States and has a fantastic entertainment scene. Civic life in “the ’Boro” centers on The Square on the city’s Main Street, where the Friday Night Live parties and annual Jazz Fest take place. Mornings here center around the Donut Country and Just Love Coffee shops.

  • Population: 166,218
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 2.72%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 12.02%
  • Median household income: $66,984
  • Median home sale price: $407,818

6. Bend, Oregon

The central Oregon town of Bend is one of just three American cities to have an extinct volcano in its city limits. Bend is a great town for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly hikers, paddlers and mountain bikers, situated in a high desert just east of the Cascade Mountains. The local economy is heavily benefitted by tourism, with the Mount Bachelor ski area and the nearby Cascade Lakes drawing active visitors from the larger region. In 2019, Bend received national notoriety as the home of the last Blockbuster Video store in existence, which still stands today. The city maintains a busy civic life, with weekly arts and music events plus larger annual festivals like Oregon WinterFest, Bend Summer Festival and Balloons Over Bend.

  • Population: 107,305
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 2.54%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 9.15%
  • Median household income: $74,253
  • Median home sale price: $739,900

7. Concord, North Carolina

In a state that loves cars, auto racing and especially NASCAR, Concord is an ideal choice. It’s home to the prestigious Charlotte Motor Speedway, which hosts dozens of automotive and racing events throughout the year, capped by two of NASCAR’s biggest races, one in the spring and one in the fall. A town with its own identity, one of the great things about Concord is that it’s just a short drive from all the amenities and attractions of the city of Charlotte, including professional sports in the NFL, NBA and NHL. Concord’s active downtown includes shops, galleries and dining, along with live music at the Mac Tabby Cat Cafe, the Kodiak and Lil’ Robert’s Place. Attractions for kids in this growing family-friendly city include the SEA LIFE aquarium and Great Wolf Lodge Water Park.

  • Population: 111,659
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 1.82%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 6.62%
  • Median household income: $78,775
  • Median home sale price: $350,619

8. Reno, Nevada

Since 2010, Nevada has been the fifth-fastest-growing state, so it’s not surprising that it has one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Dubbed “The Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno can be considered a miniature Las Vegas, but its close proximity to the northern California town of Lake Tahoe gives Reno a more laid-back, outdoorsy vibe. But make no mistake, Reno was built on fun and provides plenty. A typical day can include a few hands at the casino (this is Nevada, after all), a hike into the Black Rock Desert, mountain biking the 14-mile Flume Trail and relaxing afterward in a spa right next to the famously beautiful Lake Tahoe. If all of this isn’t enough, Reno is seeing tremendous growth in economic opportunities as more and more tech companies are moving operations to northern Nevada. Reno is a city on the rise.

  • Population: 278,577
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 1.79%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 8.81%
  • Median household income: $67,557
  • Median home sale price: $547,000

9. Cary, North Carolina

Located in the heart of a booming economic and cultural region, in a state with the 13th-fastest-growing population in the U.S., Cary was recently ranked fifth in Best Places to Live in America by Money magazine. Adjacent to the twin cities of Raleigh and Durham, Cary is home to the Research Triangle Park, the largest of its kind in North America with more than 50,000 jobs. Nearly 70% of adults hold a bachelor’s degree and the average household income is well above the state average. This is a city of well-kept, tree-lined neighborhoods that also ranks among the highest for public safety in the entire southeast U.S. Cary is an active, family-friendly town with 30 public parks and an 80-mile greenway crisscrossing town. Since it’s situated in the middle of the Tar Heel State, Cary is a relatively short drive from all of North Carolina’s diverse natural beauty. Residents can drive just 3 hours east to the beaches of the Outer Banks and 3 hours west to the ski resorts near Boone, North Carolina.

  • Population: 180,227
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 0.91%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 8.98%
  • Median household income: $113,782
  • Median home sale price: $558,955

10. Tampa, Florida

With the second-highest population among our list of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, Tampa, together with its sister city St. Petersburg, is part of a larger metroplex of more than 3 million people. Often called the Suncoast for the many days of sunshine received each year, the region has more than 150 miles of Gulf Coast beaches. While other Florida cities, such as Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, may be first thought of as tourist destinations, Tampa has always been a singular community where people work and live. Of course, tourists flock to Tampa as well. The 335-acre Busch Gardens, a zoo and zoo-themed thrill ride amusement park, is consistently ranked among the top five amusement parks in the U.S. Tampa has a vibrant and growing downtown, with new skyscrapers sharing space with restored century-old architecture. The Tampa Riverwalk weaves through a lively bar, shopping and dining scene. In the rapidly growing state of Florida, Tampa is one of the hottest destinations.

  • Population: 393,264
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 0.80%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 7.81%
  • Median household income: $59,893
  • Median home sale price: $408,724

11. Mesa, Arizona

Located in the Sonoran Desert just east of the city of Phoenix, Mesa, while considered a part of the Phoenix metroplex, is itself the 36th-largest city in America and the largest among our list of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. While it is attracting new residents from all walks of life, Mesa is particularly attractive to retirees, who can enjoy the warm, dry climate, outdoor activities such as golf and hiking, world-class health care and all the amenities of Phoenix while living in a suburban community. Tens of thousands of baseball fans flock to Mesa for 6 weeks each year as the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s play spring training games in the city. Despite its proximity to Phoenix, downtown Mesa has a distinctive character. The beautiful Mesa Arts Center campus has four theaters, five galleries and 14 art studios. The nearby Mesa Amphitheater, with its 5,000-person tiered lawn, hosts open-air concerts from national touring acts all year.  

  • Population: 516,783
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 0.71%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 6.87%
  • Median household income: $65,725
  • Median home sale price: $432,093

12. Chandler, Arizona

Though it’s part of the greater Phoenix metroplex, Chandler is a distinctive community with a suburban feel. It’s a fast-growing city with a strong economy attracting workers in technology, research and development, health care and financial services, but also retirees who can enjoy the year-round warm, dry climate and access to great golf courses and world-class health care. Whatever amenities Chandler can’t provide, such as an international airport or major college and professional sports, are just a short drive away in Phoenix. With 300 days of sunshine a year, there are plenty of things to do outdoors, such as a hike in the Sonoran Desert, a hot air balloon ride or a refreshing splash in the nearby Saguaro Lake reservoir. Among the several museums, two of the most unique are the Arizona Railway Museum and the Musical Instrument Museum.

  • Population: 283,301
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 0.69%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 6.87%
  • Median household income: $91,299
  • Median home sale price: $501,398

13. Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver is situated on the southern border of Washington along the Columbia River. Across the water lies the larger city of Portland, Oregon. On a clear day, historic peaks like Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier can be seen from here. One of the perks of living in Vancouver is that Washington residents don’t pay income tax, and can shop across the river in Portland where they don’t pay sales tax. The local economy is primarily anchored by the tech and service industries, with many residents commuting to Portland for work. One of the big summer events is the Vancouver Jazz and Wine Festival, which attracts thousands to Esther Short Park in late August. There is boundless recreation available in the spectacular mountain terrain of this region, with hiking, biking, fishing, hunting and kayaking all popular pursuits.

  • Population: 194,384
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 0.57%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 6.17%
  • Median household income: $67,462
  • Median home sale price: $474,975

14. Orlando, Florida

It’s no surprise that Orlando is annually one of the top five most visited cities in the United States. It has world-famous theme parks, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, Epcot Center and Sea World, that draw millions of visitors every year. The Orange County Convention Center also draws more than a million attendees for more than 200 events. But more and more people are now calling Orlando home year-round. Because it’s a city of distinct neighborhoods surrounded by the much larger Orange County metropolitan area, the city of Orlando is actually a fairly small town of just over 300,000. It has a long history — and a vibrant modern civic life — that is separate and radically distinct from the tourist-addled theme parks surrounding it. The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a cultural jewel of the entire southeast U.S., hosting hundreds of events that include Broadway productions, national musical acts, the Orlando Opera and Orlando Ballet.

  • Population: 312,280
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 0.50%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 10.94%
  • Median household income: $58,968
  • Median home sale price: $369,781

15. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is not only the largest city in South Carolina, it’s also the fastest-growing. Still, it feels like a small town, with a beachy vibe, burgeoning arts scene and, over the last decade or so, an outstanding reputation as a culinary destination. In fact, Charleston has become a destination for tourists in general, with its cobblestone streets and southern charm perhaps comparable to a smaller New Orleans or Savannah. Historic Fort Sumter is a well-preserved area that was the site of the first battle of the American Civil War, and the historic Middleton Place gardens date back to 1741. For a smaller city, Charleston packs a lot of art and culture, highlighted by the annual Spoleto Festival, a 17-day celebration of music and performing arts held each spring.

  • Population: 153,040
  • Population growth from 2022 – 2023: 0.47%
  • GDP growth from 2020 – 2021: 7.62%
  • Median household income: $76,556
  • Median home sale price: $499,500

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The Bottom Line

The fact that most of America’s fastest-growing cities have populations of fewer than 200,000 is likely not an accident. Where the 20th century saw populations concentrate in huge city metroplexes because of concentrations of industry and jobs, the 21st century appears to be dispersing people around the country, particularly to the south and west. These are places with diverse economies, lower cost-of-living, affordable housing and a mild climate.

If you’re considering a move to one of America’s fastest-growing cities, do your research first and apply for a mortgage with Rocket Mortgage® to begin your home search process.

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Methodology: Finding The Fastest Growing Cities In The US

Rocket Mortgage collected and analyzed the most recent data on population and GDP to give us insight into which cities are growing the fastest. The 300 most populated cities analyzed are home to 27.7% of all U.S. residents. A city’s change in population from 2010 to 2020 and from 2022 to 2023 were each considered individually as metrics for measuring population growth. A city’s change in GDP from 2010 to 2020 and from 2020 to 2021 were considered individually as metrics for measuring a city’s GDP growth. 

Each city’s percentage change for each metric was individually ranked, and then weights were applied to each metric depending on their individual importance. The final scores were then sorted to produce the final rankings. Real gross domestic product is based on most recent 2021 reports from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. 2023 and 2022 population estimates are based on U.S. Census projections. 

Metric 

Weight  

Level 

Source  

Population change 2010-2020 

20% 

City 

U.S. Census  

Population change 2022-2023 

40% 

City  

U.S. Census  

GDP change 2010-2020 

10% 

City 

Bureau of Economic Analysis 

GDP change 2020-2021 

30% 

City 

Bureau of Economic Analysis 

Other metrics considered without weight:  

Median household income 

 

City 

U.S. Census  

Median sale price 

 

City 

Rocket Homes Market Report June 2023 

David Collins

David Collins

David Collins is a staff writer for Rocket Auto, Rocket Solar, and Rocket Homes. He has experience in communications for the automotive industry, reference publishing, and food and wine. He has a degree in English from the University of Michigan.