Atlanta tops in population growth

Latest Census stats: See which metro areas had the most growth since 2000.

By Les Christie, staff writer

NEW YORK ( -- Atlanta has been the fastest growing metropolitan area in the nation since 2000, with a gain of nearly 900,000 residents to 5.1 million.

Also gaining more than 800,000 residents in the five-year Census Bureau report were Dallas/Ft. Worth and Houston. Phoenix gained nearly 790,000. Seven of the top 10 fastest growers were in the South or West.

America's fastest growing city - Atlanta

Others in the top 10 included the New York and Washington, D.C. metro areas, which both gained nearly 500,000, and Chicago, with more than 400,000.

The fastest growers by percentage were all much smaller cities. They were led by St George, Utah, which has increased its population by 39.8 percent since 2000. Greeley, Colorado was next with 31 percent growth and Cape Coral, Ft. Myers, Florida with 29.6 percent.

More than 80 percent of the 361 metro areas covered gained population during the period. The biggest exceptions population were Katrina plagued New Orleans, down 22.2 percent, and Gulfport, Mississippi, off 5.8 percent.

The Weirton, West Virginia/ Steubenville, Ohio area was third worst; it lost 5.2 percent of it residents.

New Orleans also lost a higher number of residents than any other metro area - more than 290,000 since 2000.