Census Bureau: Dallas posts biggest population gain

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Don't mess with Texas! Cities in the Lone Star State were among the fastest growing places in 2009.

Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston gained the most new residents of any city -- netting more than 140,000 each -- according to the Census Bureau's annual metropolitan area population estimates released on Wednesday. Meanwhile, music center Austin posted the second highest growth rate among top cities -- 3.1% -- just behind Raleigh, N.C.

"Texas stands as the most prominent Sun Belt survivor of the last half of the decade because of its diversified economy, smaller run-ups in housing prices, and fewer foreclosures," said William Frey, a demographer for the Brookings Institute, a liberal think tank.

Overall, the population of the United States has grown more than 9% to 307,006,550 since the 2000 census. The population grew 0.86% since last year's estimates.

These figures are an advance look at what to expect when the 2010 census results are released in December. The population figures determine how much federal money states and cities receive, as well their representation in Congress, among other things.

The Brookings Institute study estimates that federal program will dole out more than $500 billion a year to states and communities over the next decade based on data collected through the 2010 Census.

For example, since the 2000 census, the population in Provo-Orem, Utah, has jumped by more than 47%, according to the 2009 estimates. That puts the area in line for a boost in federal funding; in 2008 the area collected more than $300 million, according to the Brookings Institute

Plus, Utah stands to gain a fourth congressional seat, according to projections from the Virginia-based political consulting firm Election Data Services.

In the past decade the Dallas area has added almost 1.3 million people -- more than any other city. As a result, it stands to receive quite a bit more than the $4 billion in federal funds it earned in 2008. And Election Data Services predicts that Texas will pick up at least three more seats in Congress. (It currently has 32 House seats.)

Biggest losers: Detroit, which was battered by the collapse of the auto industry and faces a 15.6% unemployment rate, lost more than 20,000 people in 2009, or 0.5% of its residents. The Youngstown, Ohio, metropolitan area, which includes parts of Pennsylvania, shed more than 1% of its population.

Over the past decade, New Orleans has struggled the most. The population held relatively steady prior to Hurricane Katrina but lost more than 300,000 residents between 2005 and 2006 and posted a net loss of more than 126,000 people, or 9.6% of its residents, since the 2000 census.

The Big Easy could see its federal funds come down from the $1.8 billion collected in 2008. And Louisiana could lose one of its seven congressional seats, according to Election Data Services.

Census 2010: Last week more than 120 million census questionnaires were mailed to residential addresses and workers continued delivering questionnaires to 12 million addresses in rural areas. The bureau will use the completed questionnaires and data collected through door-to-door visits to determine the nation's headcount.

To ensure they get a fair share of federal funding, state and local officials are promoting the 2010 Census and pushing for residents to fill out forms. And the Census Bureau is spending $133 million to boost participation rates.  To top of page

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