While Most Small Towns Languish, Some Flourish

By: - July 5, 2017 12:00 am

Homes under construction in Vineyard, Utah, where the population grew from 139 in 2010 to almost 4,000 last year. Most small towns are shrinking, but in some expanding metro areas they’re seeing explosive growth.

© The Associated Press

By now, the demise of the American small town is a common tale. But even as most of them continue to lose residents, a few are adding them at a rapid clip.

In several Western and Southern states, small towns are growing quickly as fast-growing metro areas swallow up more outlying towns, according to a Stateline analysis of census estimates.

Between 2015 and 2016, the growth was particularly strong in small towns in Utah, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Florida, Idaho, Delaware, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina and South Carolina, where small towns grew around 1 percent or more.

During the same period, 54 percent of small towns across the U.S. lost population, and most others saw only limited growth. (For purposes of the analysis, Stateline defined “small towns” as those having fewer than 10,000 residents, a common standard.)

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Tim Henderson
Tim Henderson

Tim Henderson covers demographics for Stateline. He has been a reporter at the Miami Herald, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Journal News.