Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released its 2018 local population estimates, temporary snapshots ahead of the formal census in 2020, and the cities posting the fastest growth rates came as no surprise: oil towns in Texas, cities and suburbs in tech-forward Utah, and Boise, Idaho, where an influx of cost-crunched Californians has strained the city’s affordability, all ranked high.
But among the list of 10 fastest-growing metros, two central Florida cities’ citations underscored that this booming part of the country has become a snapshot of U.S. demographic and development trends. The first, Lakeland-Winter Haven, a more remote, exurban, and rural area of former citrus groves between Tampa and Orlando, represents a geographic shift. Despite urban growth, especially in mid-tier cities, suburban and even exurban growth has bounced back since the Great Recession.
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