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People Are Moving to San Antonio More Than Any Other City

More than 13,000 people relocated to the Texas city between 2020 and 2021, the most for cities with populations of 50,000 or more. San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the country with around 1.5 million residents.

(TNS) — More people moved to San Antonio than anywhere else in the country between 2020 and 2021, according to new U.S. Census data.

The Alamo City topped the nation's list of numeric gains as 13,626 people relocated here — far outpacing Austin's relatively small growth of just 1,056 newcomers. Phoenix closely followed San Antonio, with the Arizona city gaining 13,224 new residents. The Census Bureau only ranked cities with populations of 50,000 or more.

San Antonio also maintained its status as the seventh-largest city in the country with around 1.5 million people. Phoenix is still home to a larger group of 1.6 million residents within city limits, the fifth largest in the country.

Several of those new to the Alamo City said they came for work opportunities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Others listed family as the reason for relocating.

Natalie Koock, 36, was a single mom when she moved from California in March 2021 and soon met her now-husband, Travis. They have a home on the Northwest side of town near Helotes.

Koock, who has three teenagers, said closures and other challenges brought on by the pandemic dramatically changed the community she was living in and made it difficult for her to run the residential pool service company she had built. A friend recommended San Antonio, and before Koock knew it, she had made "so many close connections that feel like family" that she doesn't see herself leaving any time soon.

"And there were just so many opportunities and doors open for me once I did look into San Antonio," Koock said. "When I came from a shutdown city, this was still a thriving city."

San Antonio did not make the list of top 15 fastest growing cities by percentage growth from July 2020 to July 2021, a list separate from numeric gains. However, suburban cities in the Austin and San Antonio metropolitan areas did.

The fastest-growing cities primarily had populations around or below 100,000.

Up the I-35 corridor, New Braunfels ranked fifth across the nation with 8.3 percent growth in that time. The suburb gained 7,538 new residents — putting it at a new total population of 98,857.

Georgetown, just north of Austin, came in at number one. Its population increased by 10.5 percent from July 2020 to July 2021, with 7,193 new residents. At that rate of growth, the city's population would double in less than seven years, according to the Census Bureau.

Leander, also north of Austin, wasn't far behind Georgetown with its 10.1 percent population growth. Leander is about 12 miles away from Georgetown and saw 6,159 people move there.

Two cities in Arizona, Queen Creek Town and Buckeye, came in third and fourth place on the fastest-growing cities list, respectively. Both are suburbs of Phoenix.

The nation's fastest-growing large cities are overwhelmingly located in the West and the South.

Moving closer to family was a major part of what brought Jose Borquez, 62, and his wife to San Antonio from Portland in July — two of their five kids live in town. Borquez also said the warmer weather is beneficial for his wife's health; even so, the pair plans to travel to cooler destinations during the hottest times of the year.

Borquez said he has been happy with how many kind people he has met since moving to the area.

But, as was the case with Koock, jobs were a major part of what has drawn people to the city in recent years.

Crystal Longoria, 35, moved to San Antonio with her husband and their 5-year-old-daughter in June 2020. Longoria's husband — who now works in carpentry at a cabinet shop — had been in construction in California, but he struggled to find work close enough to housing they could afford.

Longoria said she is glad to now live in a city where her husband can get to work easily and she can take their daughter to fun attractions like the zoo with a shorter drive.

Raphael Finn, an electrical engineer for the air force, has moved around the country several times for work. He moved from Denver to San Antonio's West Side about a year ago for his job and because his girlfriend lives in town.

Finn, 65, said he lived in Florida on and off for about 30 years. He said he will probably move again soon, but San Antonio may end up being where he returns after retirement.

Tim Webb, 37, moved to San Antonio near Converse a year ago. The electrician said there were more opportunities for work in the area than he found in New Mexico, and family he has in town also attracted him to San Antonio. Overall, Webb said he likes the state, the city "and everything it offers" but is thinking of moving to a city on the outskirts of town next year to get farther from things like traffic.

"It's more of a fast pace," Webb said as he reflected on moving from New Mexico to San Antonio. "Everything is here. Anything you'd want to do is in Texas, to be honest — more outdoor adventures."

Texas fared well in terms of largest numeric growth, with a handful of other cities ranking in the top 15.

Fort Worth came in third with 12,916 new residents. Frisco, a Dallas area suburb, saw 7,933 people move there, ranking it eighth on the list. New Braunfels, Georgetown, Leander, Denton and McKinney also all placed in the top 15 for numeric gains.

Three Texas cities also joined the list of places with populations of 50,000 or more in 2021.

Kyle, in fast-growing Hays County, reached 51,789 residents. Burleson, south of Fort Worth, is now home to 51,618 people. Little Elm, also in the Dallas-Forth Worth area, has 51,042 residents.

While San Antonio grew, more than half of the nation's 15 largest cities lost or continued to lose population between 2020 and 2021.

That includes Houston, the country's fourth-largest city, which saw a decrease of 11,777 residents. Dallas, the ninth-largest city in the country, lost 14,777 residents.

Koock started in San Antonio working at the water park in Six Flags but has since switched to being a realtor after the long-lasting effects of contracting COVID-19 made the high level of physical activity required by her first job a challenge.

Soon after moving to town, Koock helped her mother find a home in the area, too, so they could live near each other. Koock's three kids are currently in California with their father but will be in town this summer when the school year ends.

"We love our neighbors," Koock said. "We have grown to really love the community that we're in, and I'm really grateful for that. I love the people here. There's so much hospitality here."

(c)2022 the San Antonio Express-News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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