Huntsville only steadily growing large city in Alabama
Email the author | Follow on Twitter May 21, 2015 at 7:30 AM, updated May 21, 2015 at 8:23 AM
Huntsville continues to be the fastest growing of the four large cities in Alabama. And in this latest report, it’s only one to grow at all since 2010.
According to Census estimates for cities released today, each of those four large cities is hovering around 200,000 residents. And lately the four have been drawing closer in size. That’s because, Huntsville has been growing and catching up, while Montgomery has been shrinking.
And since 2010, there has been little to no change in the size of Birmingham or Mobile.
All other Alabama cities are far smaller, having fewer than 100,000 residents.
The Census two months ago had released the 2014 population estimates for counties and metro areas. The new data shows 2014 estimates for cities and towns.
Huntsville City now has 188,226 residents, up 4.5 percent since the 2010 Census count placed the population at 180,105.
While the greater Huntsville metro area — counting Madison and Athens — is now the second most populous metro in the state, Huntsville remains the fourth largest city.
Meanwhile, growth continues all around the city, including in small towns of Madison and Limestone counties.
Madison, the 10th largest city in Alabama as of the 2010 Census, continues to see rapid growth. It’s up to 46,450 residents now, an 8.2 percent jump since 2010. Among the smaller cities in Alabama, only Auburn, Opelika and Phenix City have been growing faster than Madison over the last four years.
Athens in Limestone County is up to 24,522 residents, a 12 percent climb since 2010.
Every city and small town in Madison County grew since 2010, except for Gurley, which fell below 800 residents.
Owens Cross Roads is the seventh fastest growing place in the state. It’s still small. It’s up to just 1,767 residents, but that’s a 16.2 percent spike in four years for the area east of Huntsville city limits.
In Limestone County, Ardmore grew by about 12 percent and the hamlet of Mooresville grew by 10 percent.
But much of the growth in Limestone has been inside the limits of larger cities that have been creeping into the undeveloped areas.
Portions of Madison City within Limetsone County jumped 17 percent since 2010, to surpass 4,000 residents. Huntsville grew 15 percent within Limestone County to claim 1,744 city residents. Even Decatur grew a little, now claiming 91 residents in Limestone County.
Most counties around Huntsville saw modest population gains since 2010, nothing like what is happening in Madison and Limestone counties.
Albertville, Arab, Boaz and Guntersville in Marshall County each grew by a couple percent since 2010. In Morgan County, Priceville is seeing a sudden expansion, growing 15 percent in four years to reach 3,061 residents. But growth in larger Decatur was flat, and the small towns of Falkville and Eva saw population loss.
Meanwhile, the new estimates show a different story in Jackson County to the east. There none of the 13 measured towns or areas grew over the last four years. Most shrank. Scottsboro itself was unchanged.
Across the state, small towns like Killen and Notasulga saw the steepest declines. Tuskegee, Selma, Demopolis and Monroeville were the only towns with over 5,000 people to see a drop of 4 percent or more since 2010.