Baldwin County long has been Alabama’s fastest-growing county, so perhaps it should be no surprise that one of its towns is the state’s fast-growing municipality.
According to population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau, Loxley added 335 new residents from July 2016 to July 2017. The 16.7 percent growth rate over that 12-month period topped the state.
It came in just ahead of fellow Baldwin County towns Summerdale (12.3 percent) and Silverhill (12 percent).
Three other Baldwin cities also made the top 20 — No. 9 Spanish Fort (5.1 percent), No. 16 Fairhope (3.7 percent) and No. 17 Foley (3.3 percent).
They were among 179 Alabama municipalities that saw growth from mid-2016 to mid-2017. Meanwhile, 244 cities and towns lost population, while another 36 remained exactly the same.
Census figures show much of the rest of the South remains booming. Of the 15 American cities with the greatest numerical gains over the past year, eight are in the region. The South also has 10 of the 15 fastest-growing cities on a percentage basis.
While the biggest cities get most of the attention, that is not where most people live — either in Alabama or across the country. Nationally, only 3.9 percent of cities have 50,000 residents or more. Only nine Alabama cities meet that threshold. The nearly 1.7 million people who live in those cites make up about 34 percent of the state’s residents.
“The U.S. is a nation of small cities and towns,” Census Bureau demographer Joseph Bowman said in a statement. “Of the 19,500 incorporated places, about 76 percent had fewer than 5,000 people and almost half of these places had fewer than 1,000 people.”
Most of Alabama’s populous cities followed well-established trends over the past year. Birmingham retained its position as Alabama’s biggest city but shrank by about a quarter of a percentage point, to 210,710.
Montgomery and Mobile also lost residents. They and Birmingham have lost population since the 2010 census.
Huntsville, which passed Mobile in 2017 to become the third-biggest city, added another 2,629 residents. That was the most of any municipality in the state. Since 2010, the Rocket City’s population has jumped 8 percent. It now trails second-place Montgomery by just 4,933 people.
Among the top 10 cities, two others have outpaced Huntsville on percentage basis. Auburn grew by 2 percent since mid-2016 and is up to 63,973 residents. That is up 20 percent since 2010. And Madison jumped 2.2 percent on year and 13.8 percent since 2010, to 48,861.
Alabama’s 20 biggest cities got a new member over the past year — Daphne, in Baldwin County, replaced Homewood at No. 20. And Prattville swapped places with Gadsden at 13 and 14, respectively.
Here is a look at Alabama’s fastest-growing municipalities since the 2010 census:
- 1. — Hayden, which has grown 203.6 percent.
- 2. — Pike Road, which has grown 72.4 percent.
- 3. — Summerdale, which has grown 60 percent.
- 4. — S. Florian, which has grown 49 percent.
- 5. — Loxley, which has grown 43 percent.
- 6. — Fairhope, which has grown 36.6 percent.
- 7. —Westover, which has grown 32 percent.
- 8. — Uniontown, which has grown 30.7 percent.
- 9. — Priceville, which has grown 30.3 percent.
- 10. — Chelsea, which has grown 27.8 percent.
@BrendanKKirby is a senior political reporter at LifeZette and author of “Wicked Mobile.”