Population goes boom
New Braunfels was one of the most booming cities in America in 2022. The San Antonio neighbor ranks No. 4 among the top 100 U.S. cities for economic and population growth in a new study from personal finance website SmartAsset.
To rank the top “boomtowns” in America, SmartAsset analyzed data for 500 of the largest U.S. cities. The site evaluated topics such as five-year population change, average yearly growth in economic output (GDP), five-year growth in number of businesses, five-year change in number of housing units, one-year change in unemployment rate and five-year change in household income.
New Braunfels was not the only Texas city to make the list, coming just two spots ahead of the Houston suburb of Conroe (No. 6) and a Dallas-area suburb, Lewisville, which came in at No. 9.
What helped New Braunfels become the top boomtown in Texas and No. 5 nationally? The historic hill country town had the second-highest population and housing growth between 2016 and 2021 (36.10 percent and 40.86 percent, respectively), according to the study. Additionally, Comal County, where New Braunfels is located, had the eighth-highest business growth rate between 2015 and 2020 (23.94 percent) and average annual GDP growth has exceeded 4 percent.
Other Central Texas cities made the top-100 list, including: Cedar Park (No. 26); Round Rock (No. 48); Austin (No. 67); and College Station (No. 73). Notably, Austin was the only major metropolitan city in Texas to make the list.
Elsewhere in Texas
The Houston area's Conroe (No. 6 nationally) ranks highest in five-year housing growth and secured the No. 22 spot for that specific metric. It has also seen a considerable five-year population growth of 14.71 percent. Conroe, the report notes, is in Montgomery County, which ranks in the top 30 for both its annual GDP and business growth rates.
Meanwhile, Lewisville (No. 9 nationally) has seen a nearly 16 percent increase in the number of available housing units. Lewisville's population grew almost 8 percent from 2016 to 2021; according to the city's website, Lewisville has a population of 127,008. The average household income in Lewisville rose 30 percent during the same time frame. The SmartAsset study notes that Denton County, which Lewisville is located in, is also doing well, ranking No. 10 for business growth and No. 21 for its annualized GDP growth rate.
Five other Dallas-area cities cracked the top 100, and one other Houston suburb: Denton (No. 19), McKinney (No. 33), Frisco (No. 42), Flower Mound (No. 50), and Allen (No. 69). In 2021, Denton ranked No. 36, while McKinney sat at No. 39. Sugar Land, a Houston suburb, ranked No. 46.
The No. 1 U.S. boomtown overall is Nampa, Idaho’s third most populous city.
“Moving to a boomtown at its earliest stages can be a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors, as there's still plenty of room for growth. And for those who are looking for a job, there are usually plenty of opportunities available in rapidly growing cities,” Edith Reads, senior editor at TradingPlatforms, tells SmartAsset. “However, if a city has already reached its peak, it may be too late to get in on the action. In this case, it may be wiser to wait until the city's growth slows down before making the move. This way, you can avoid getting caught in the midst of a housing or job crunch.”