Harris County #2 in the Nation for population growth; Experts talk pros vs. cons

Over the weekend, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report on county population growth across the nation. 

Harris County ranked number two for the highest population growth, adding more than 45,000 new residents from 2021 to 2022. 

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"It helped explain why housing demand was so strong, it helped explain why apartment demand was so strong, why we're selling so many vehicles, why we were creating so many jobs," said Patrick Jankowski, chief economist with the Greater Houston partnership.

He says the increase is great for the county's healthcare system and for businesses. 

"On one hand it's adding to the workforce, which expands the economy, on the other hand, it's another consumer," Jankowski said. 

Six of the top 10 counties for growth were in Texas, including Fort Bend and Montgomery County.

"Another unique thing about Harris County is you also see out-migration to the surrounding counties," said Helen You, Associate Director of the Texas Demographic Center. 

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You says the growth in Harris County has been partially from people moving from other parts of the country or world, but another large portion is a natural increase, which looks at births versus deaths. This means more children are being born in Harris County. 

We also asked these experts about the cons of a population boom. 

"The median time to work in the Houston metropolitan area has increased by two minutes, which doesn't seem like a lot, but it's actually a lot," You said.

Jankowski weighed in saying, "It does pose some challenges, because it means we'll need to hire more teachers for education. It means that yes, we might have a little more wear and tear on the roads," he said. 

However, both You and Jankowski say this is a good spot to be in as long as our infrastructure and the job market continue to expand as well.

You also says that the age range of people migrating to Houston will likely have a positive impact on the workforce. 

"People moving in Texas are more likely to be younger, more likely to be in the labor force and employed," said You.  

The county that had the greatest population decline in the nation was Los Angeles County, but in the same breath; Los Angeles County is still the most populous with more than 9 million people calling it home. 

Click here to view the entire U.S. Census Bereau report Growth in the Nation’s Largest Counties Rebounds in 2022 (census.gov)