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Some Surprises in List of Fastest-Growing Market Areas in SmallTown USA

Dec. 2, 2017
You might be surprised to learn that when you compare them to other towns these communities are some of the fastest-growing markets in the United States.

You probably have a pretty good feel for the larger metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) now growing the fastest and are used to seeing SunBelt cities like Austin and San Antonio, TX; Raleigh and Charlotte, NC; Ft. Myers-Cape Coral, FL; and San Diego, CA; pop up on lists of the markets seeing the most growth. And you may have noticed that several of the nation’s very largest metros, including cities like Atlanta, Orlando, Dallas, Houston, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and New York, have seen huge amounts of construction over the last few years.

But you may not have heard as much about which smaller markets are growing fast. For example, are you familiar with Heber, Summit Park or Vernal, UT? You might be surprised to learn that when you compare them to other towns with less than 200,000 in population, these communities in and near the Wasatch Mountains are some of the fastest-growing markets in the United States. All enjoyed double-digital growth from 2010-2016 according to the latest U.S Census population data. These towns, all with populations of less than 50,000, added a combined  total of  18,546 new residents since 2016, many lured by their small-town atmosphere, some of best skiing in the United States and, in the case of Heber and Summit Park, manageable commutes to the Salt Lake City metro.

Living in or near the mountains and other vacation areas is another common theme with communities like Durango  (+4,288 new residents) and Glenwood Springs, CO (3,102 new residents),  and Bozeman (+14,989 residents) and Kalispell, MT (+7,154 residents) which  were also ranked amongst the 50 fastest-growing communities in Electrical Marketing’s analysis of SmallTown USA in the chart titled Fastest-Growing Small Towns & Cities in the United States: 2010-2016. Another commonality with some of the communities on this listing, which each added at least 2,600 new residents over the past six years, is that they are located on the outskirts of other larger growth metros. This was the case with the Dunn, NC micropolitan area (+16,174), located south of Raleigh, NC, and the Cookeville (+3,485) and Crossville (+2,593) micropolitan areas east of Nashville, TN, one of the fastest-growing markets in the country.

On the flip side, there were also some common themes in the location of the smaller towns and cities that have lost the most population in recent years. Many are located in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, upstate New York and other regions of the United States that have lost manufacturing jobs over the past few decades. The three smaller markets that lost the most residents were Torrington CT (-7,355) Jamestown-Dunkirk-Fredonia market in upstate New York  (- 5,400) and the Ottawa-Peru market (-5,287).