Surge in suburbia
These San Antonio-area counties rank among the fastest-growing in U.S.
The “suburbanization” of San Antonio, as one expert calls it, is more evident than ever: Two suburban counties in the San Antonio metro area, Kendall and Comal, were among the 10 fastest-growing U.S. counties from 2015 to 2016.
According to estimates released Thursday, March 23, by the U.S. Census Bureau, Kendall County ranked No. 2 for population growth from July 2015 to July 2016, expanding at a 5.2 percent clip. Not far behind, at No. 6, was Comal County, where the population climbed 4.4 percent.
As of last July, Kendall County had 42,450 residents, adding nearly 2,100 from 2015 to 2016. Meanwhile, the Census Bureau estimated Comal County had 134,788 residents as of July 2016, gaining nearly 5,700 residents in one year.
Steve Murdock, director of Rice University’s Hobby Center for the Study of Texas and former director of the Census Bureau, says the rapid population increases in Kendall and Comal counties underscore the continuing “suburbanization” of San Antonio. People in search of relatively cheap housing and proximity to urban centers are settling in suburban outposts like Boerne, the largest city in Kendall County, and New Braunfels, the largest city in Comal County.
In large part, Comal County’s population lift can be attributed to its location along the Austin-San Antonio corridor. Increasingly, Murdock says, Austin-San Antonio is becoming
“like one linked urban area.”
“That area is one of the most rapidly growing parts of Texas,” he says.
Overall, the growth of the eight-county San Antonio area was healthy, but not wildly impressive, from 2015 to 2016. At 2 percent, the region ranked 36th for percentage growth in 2015-16 among all U.S. metro areas. By comparison, the Austin area ranked ninth, with Dallas-Fort Worth sitting at No. 35 and Houston at No. 48.
As of July 1, 2016, the San Antonio area had 2,429,609 residents, according to Census Bureau estimates. That’s up nearly 48,000 residents from 2,381,703 in July 2015. The boost in population elevated San Antonio from the country’s 25th largest U.S. metro area in 2015 to No. 24 in 2016.
Bexar County, by the far the largest county in the San Antonio area, picked up nearly 33,200 residents from 2015 to 2016. As of last July, Bexar County had 1,928,680 residents.
Here are the July 2016 headcounts for the region’s other counties:
- Atascosa County — 48,797, up 0.7 percent from 2015.
- Bandera County — 21,776, up 2.6 percent from 2015. Bandera was the country’s 81st fastest-growing U.S. county from 2015 to 2016.
- Guadalupe County — 155,265, up 2.7 percent from 2015. Guadalupe was the country’s 75th fastest-growing U.S. county from 2015 to 2016.
- Medina County — 49,283, up 1.9 percent from 2015.
- Wilson County — 48,480, up 2.2 percent from 2015.