U.S. Census: Bentonville growing fastest in state, Benton County adds most homes

by Jeff Della Rosa (JDellaRosa@nwabj.com) 2,622 views 

Bentonville remained the fastest-growing city among the largest cities in the state, with its population rising 3.6% to 51,111 people in 2018, from 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The city exceeded a population of 50,000 after it added 1,770 people between July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2018.

The Census Bureau on Thursday (May 23) released population estimates through July 1, 2018, for U.S. cities, and it also released housing estimates for counties. Buckeye, Ariz., was the fastest growing among cities with a population of at least 50,000 in 2018, and its population rose 8.5% to 74,370 people. Phoenix, Ariz., had the largest population increase, jumping 25,288 people to 1.66 million. New York remained the most populous city with 8.4 million people.

In Arkansas, the growth story has continued to be about Northwest Arkansas cities and a rising number of jobs and economic activity there.

“I have them ranked by the increase in the number of people, and the top 10 list looks kind of like a map of Northwest Arkansas,” said Michael Pakko, chief economist and state economic forecaster for the Arkansas Economic Development Institute at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Since 2010, the population of Bentonville has risen 44.7%, from 35,325. Pakko attributed the city’s high growth rate to the job base, with retail giant Walmart based there. “It’s a vibrant, growing sector of that local economy, so that’s obviously going to continue to drive growth there,” he said. While Pakko said he wasn’t aware of any changes to the city’s limits through annexations, a city is restricted by its limits. But economic activity will continue to drive growth there.

“It’s the chicken and the egg kind of thing,” Pakko said. “The places that have employment growth are going to have people growth as well.”

Alison Wright, assistant research specialist for the Arkansas Economic Development Institute, wasn’t surprised with the population changes, and that Northwest Arkansas cities were outgrowing others in the state. Because Bentonville didn’t have a population of 50,000 as of 2010, she said it wasn’t included in the Census Bureau’s list for cities with the fastest growth rate. If it were included on the list, Bentonville would have been No. 6, behind McKinney, Texas, with a 46.1% growth rate and ahead of Cedar Park, Texas, with a growth rate of 39.7%.

Rogers, however, had the 39th-fastest growth rate in the United States, between 2010 and 2018, according to the Census Bureau list. Rogers’ population increased 1.7%, or by 1,118 people, to 67,600 in 2018, from 2017. Between 2010 and 2018, its population rose 20.7%, from 56,021.

Between 2017 and 2018, the population of Jonesboro increased by 1.6%, or by 1,193 people, to 76,990. The northeast Arkansas city added the second-highest number of people in the state among cities with more than 50,000 people. Since 2010, its population has increased by 14.4% from 67,291. The rise in the number of jobs and population has been a trend for Jonesboro for several years, Pakko said.

The population of Springdale rose 1.5% to 81,029, and it added 1,184 people. Since 2010, its population has increased 14.4%, from 70,808.

In Fayetteville, the population rose 1.3% to 86,751, and it added 1,150 people. Between 2010 and 2018, its population rose 17.9%, from 73,573, and Fayetteville had the 64th-fastest growth rate in the United States for the period.

The population of Conway increased by 1.3% to 66,426, and it added 863 people. Since 2010, its population has increased by 12.8%, from 58,871.

The population of North Little Rock rose 0.3% to 66,127, and it added 216 people. Since 2010, the population has risen 5.9%, from 62,453.

The population of Little Rock, the most populous city in the state, fell 0.3%, or by 537 people, to 197,881. Since 2010, the population has risen 2%, from 193,928. As the number of people living in Little Rock has declined, the population has risen in surrounding areas, such as in Saline and Faulkner counties, Pakko said.

The population of Fort Smith, the second most populous city in the state, was nearly flat, falling by 34 people to 87,845. Since 2010, the population has risen 1.8%, from 86,297. If the populations of Fort Smith and Fayetteville change in 2019 at the same rate as in 2018, Fayetteville would become the second most populous city in the state in 2019.

HOUSING CHANGES
Between 2017 and 2018, Texas added the most housing units in the United States, adding 171,631 homes, and the number of homes rose 1.6% to 11.1 million homes. Over the period, Utah had the highest growth rate in housing units, rising 2.2%, or by 23,897 homes, to 1.11 million homes.

Over the same period, the number of housing units in Arkansas rose 0.8%, or by 10,504 homes, to 1.38 million homes, and it had the 21st highest growth rate in the United States. Arkansas was ranked No. 31 in the United States as far as the number of homes added. Between 2010 and 2018, housing units in the state rose 4.9%, or by 64,178 homes, from 1.32 million homes in 2010.

Between 2017 and 2018, the number of housing units in Benton County rose 3.1%, or by 3,238 homes, to 108,486 homes in Benton County, and it was the 35th fastest growing county in terms of home growth in the United States. Between 2010 and 2018, the county was the 67th fastest growing county in the United States, with the number of housing units rising 16.5%, or by 15,396 homes, from 93,091 homes in 2010.

Between 2010 and 2018, Craighead County was the 92nd fastest growing county in the United States, with the number of housing units rising 14.2%, or by 5,739 homes, to 46,255 homes in 2018, from 40,516 homes in 2010. Between 2017 and 2018, the number of housing units in the northeast Arkansas county rose 1.7%, or by 773 homes, from 45,482 homes in 2017.

In Washington County, the number of homes rose 1.4%, or by 1,288 homes to 95,013 housing units in 2018. Between 2010 and 2018, the number of housing units increased by 8.2%, or by 7,214 homes, from 87,799 homes.

In Pulaski County, the number of homes increased 1%, or by 1,762 homes, to 185,966 homes in 2018. Since 2010, the number of housing units has risen 5.9%, or by 10,414 homes, from 175,552 homes.

In Sebastian County, the number of housing units rose 0.6%, or by 362 homes, to 57,218 in 2018. Since 2010, the number of homes has increased by 4.7%, or by 2,561 homes, from 54,657 homes.

The Census Bureau on April 18 released its population estimates through July 1, 2018, for metro areas and counties in the United States.

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