The Texas population jumped by more than 1.3 million people in the three years between the 2010 census and July of 2013, making Texas by far the fastest growing state in terms of population growth in the past three years, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The population of the Lone Star State is now 26,448,193, and State Demographer Lloyd Potter, a professor at UTSA, says it's a function of people moving where the jobs are.
"The Midland-Odessa area, those two metro areas, were some of the fastest growing in the country last year," Potter told 1200 WOAI news. "We have the very strong economies in our urban areas, certainly Austin and San Antonio have strong economies and continue to grow and rebound from the recession."
Figures on specific city populations won't be available until next month, but it is estimated that the San Antonio population will jump to 1,382,000, up from 1,324,000 in the 2010 census, an increased of 1.7%.
The strongest percentage growth in population in the past three years has been in North Dakota, which, like Texas, is experiencing an oil and gas boom.
Two states, West Virginia and Maine, lost population in the past year.
That's more than double the U.S. average growth of about .7% over the past three years.
San Antonio will safely remain the country's seventh largest city, but slowly gaining on Phoenix, which, like a lot of cities in what demographers call the 'sand states' were hit hard by the recession. Phoenix's growth was much slower than San Antonio's.
Also experiencing slow growth was Philadelphia, which is the fifth largest city in the U.S.
San Diego's population also grew more slowly than San Antonio in the past three years, meaning San Diego will remain the nation's eighth largest city and no threat to San Antonio's Number seven slot.
The real growth was in Austin, which is expected to clock in with a population of 842,000, up 2.7% in the last three years, and now the 11th largest city in the country.
Potter says Texas' growth is not fueled as much by migration from other countries as it was in the last decade. At that time, Texas' growth was one third natural growth of more births than deaths, one third migration from other states, and one third migration from other countries.
"Half of our population change is from natural increase and about half is from net migration," Potter said, adding that the net migration is now about one half from elsewhere in the U.S. and one half from other countries.
He says despite surging growth in the cities, there are still huge stretches of Texas, mainly in the eastern part of the state and the Panhandle, were communities are actually shrinking as the population moves away.
He would have said the same about the Brush Country of south Texas three years ago, but that situation has been turned around due to the amazing Eagle Ford Shale boom.
"Many of those counties were rural and had very slow population growth previously, but now they are booming in terms of population growth, and almost all of that is migration from other states and other parts of Texas," he said.