Census estimates show Alabama metro areas growing
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama --- As Alabama's economy continues to recover from the recession, its major metropolitan areas are modestly growing.
That's the pattern suggested by a new batch of population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. It's the first set of numbers for county, metro and smaller population areas released since the 2010 census a year ago.
The numbers cover the period from April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011.
Among Alabama's cities, Birmingham-Hoover increased from 1,129,068 to 1,132,264, an increase of 3,196. Brett Isom, a planner with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, said Birmingham's growth continues to follow the area's major transportation corridors, especially to the south.
"Despite some of the residential population loss we've seen with Birmingham and some of the western communities, people don't seem to be moving out of the metro area as much as relocating within the metro area," he said.
Of the seven counties of the Birmingham metro area, Shelby County and St. Clair County both saw the most growth. Shelby County added 2,078 residents, for a total of 197,936. St. Clair increased to 84,398, or an increase of 563 residents. Jefferson added 545 residents, for a population of 658,931. Blount and Chilton saw modest gains, while Bibb and Walker saw decreases.
Among the state's metro areas, Huntsville added 6,100 residents, Montgomery added 3,405, and Auburn-Opelika increased by 2,684. Decatur, Dothan and Florence-Muscle Shoals also saw growth. Mobile has a slight .1 percent decrease of little more than 500 residents.
Statewide, Madison County topped the others in gains, adding nearly 4,000 residents from 2010 to 2011, followed by Baldwin, Lee, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa counties. Nationally, there were 38 counties in the South among the 50 fastest growing in the U.S. between 2010 and 2011.