Census: Northwest Arkansas' Growth Ranks No. 24 in Nation

New U.S. Census Bureau estimates made public today show Northwest Arkansas came thisclose to ranking among the nation’s 20 fastest growing metropolitan areas.

No. 24 Northwest Arkansas had 513,559 residents as of July 1, 2015, growing at 2.29 percent over the previous year, the Census Bureau estimates. With 31.5 new residents per day added to the population between July 2014 and July 2015, the Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area saw a substantial increase in how many people are moving to the region on a daily basis.

Northwest Arkansas remains the nation’s 105th largest metropolitan area, but it should move up in mid-2017, passing Portland, Maine. Because the region is growing faster than other similar-sized regions, it should become a top 100 MSA in 2020.

The region’s two largest counties — Benton and Washington — are among the 100 fastest growing counties in the nation, the Bureau reports.

The 31.5 people per day added to the MSA’s population between July 2014 and July 2015 shows the region’s growth has increased. Since the official U.S. Census in April 2010, the region has added 26.3 residents per day.

An analysis of Census Bureau data makes it easy to compare how Northwest Arkansas’ growth compares to other regions and counties across the U.S.

The Census information shows:

  • Northwest Arkansas has averaged 26.3 new residents per day since April 2010. The growth was near 24.8 people daily from April 2010 to July 2014.
  • Northwest Arkanss is adding more people per day than 13 of the nation’s Top 50 MSAs, and 55 of the Top 100 MSAs.
  • Benton County’s rate of growth since April 2010 (12.8 percent) ranks 52nd in the nation. Washington County ranks 89th (11 percent).
  • The 50,355 new arrivals since April 2010 approaches the number of people who live in Rogers, the region’s third largest city.
  • Since 2010, Northwest Arkansas has added more people a day to its population than far larger metropolitan areas, including Virginia Beach (25 people a day), Cincinnati (22.5), Louisville (22.3), St. Louis (12.5) and Milwaukee (10.3).
  • Northwest Arkansas added more people between July 2014 and July 2015 than larger Baltimore, Tulsa, Des Moines, Omaha and Birmingham.

Most Arkansas metropolitan areas are growing.

The Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway MSA remains the state's largest area with 731,612 residents. Its population has increased by 16.7 people a day since April 2010.

Jonesboro metropolitan area, which has 128,394 residents, has added 3.8 residents a day since 2010.

The Fort Smith area added 420 residents between July 2014 and July 2015, but it's overall population of 280,241 is down slightly from April 2010.

Texarkana's MSA added 403 residents in the most recent year, increasing in size to 149,769 residents.