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Population Growth

The Houston metro area had the second largest numeric population growth in the country between ’22 and ’23.
Published on 3/14/24

Metro Houston added 139,789 residents in ’23, a 1.9 percent increase from ’22, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The increase equates to one new resident every 3.8 minutes. Population in the 10-county region now exceeds that of 37 states and the District of Columbia.

Houston ranked second in numeric gains behind Dallas-Fort Worth and tied with the metroplex in percent growth. The nation’s three most populous metros, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, saw their populations shrink. Only five of the nation’s major metros—Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Phoenix, and Tampa—registered significant gains.

Every county in the metro area gained population with the largest gains in Harris, Fort Bend, and Montgomery Counties, and the largest percentage gains in Chambers, Liberty, and Montgomery Counties.

Local growth came from the net natural increase and net inmigration:

  • One-third (34.1 percent) of the region’s gains—47,653 residents—came from the net natural increase (i.e., births minus deaths), 
  • Two-thirds (65.9 percent) of the gains—92,198 residents—came from net inmigration (i.e., people moving in minus the people moving out),
  • Over half of the inmigration (57.0 percent) was international—52,554 residents—and under half (43.0 percent) was domestic—39,644 residents.

Harris County led the nation in population growth, adding the most residents among the nation’s 3,144 counties. The ranking doesn’t tell the full story, however. ’23 marked the eighth consecutive year that Harris County experienced negative domestic migration (i.e., more people moved out of Harris County than moved in from elsewhere in the U.S.). Harris lost 22,792 residents to domestic out-migration last year. That was the 13th-worst performance in the nation. By comparison, Montgomery County had the second-highest level of domestic migration (+25,501 residents) and Fort Bend the eighth-best (+15,757). If not for the high number of births inside Harris—65,450 last year—the county would have plummeted in the growth rankings. Harris County ranked second only to Los Angeles County (95,354) in births. Even with that high level of births, the Los Angeles metro area saw its population shrink by over 71,000 residents last year.

7.5 million

Metro Houston's population in '23


Residents added to Metro Houston's population between '22 and '23

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