Austin Population 2017
Austin's 2016 population is estimated at 931,830, but its 5-county metropolitan area has an estimated population of over 2 million. Austin has a population density of 3,358.32 people per square mile (1,296.65/square kilometer), so there is definitely room to grow.
In 2016, Austin was the 4th largest city in Texas and the 11th largest in the United States, up from 13th at the last census. Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country now, with a population growth rate of almost 3%.
According to the 2010 Census, the composition of Austin was:
- White: 68.3% (non-Hispanic: 48.7%)
- Hispanic or Latino: 35.1%
- African American: 8.1%
- Asian: 6.3%
- American Indian: 0.9%
- Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 0.1%
- Two or more races: 3.4%
While Austin has a sizable Hispanic population, the city has struggled to attract more African Americans, the only ethnic group in Austin that is shrinking. There are two important factors causing a decline in the African-American community: moving away from the city center and higher mortality rates.
Austin was settled in the 1830s by pioneers, although the area has been inhabited since at least 9200 BC, or more than 11,000 years. For many years, Spanish colonists traveled through the area but very few permanent settlements were created until 1730, when three missions from East Texas were reestablished at the site.
Texas won independence from Mexico in 1836 and became its own independent country. A year later, Republic of Texas Vice President Mirabeau Lamar visited the area while hunting buffalo and proposed moving the republic's capital (then in Houston) to the area. The city was incorporated in 1839 as Waterloo, but was quickly renamed Austin in honor of Stephen Austin, the "Father of Texas."
By the 1880s, Austin gained prominence with its state capital building, then the 7th largest building in the world. The city slowly grew, launching several beautification projects in the 1920s and 1930s, further boosting its appeal and population.
Through half of the 20th century, Austin had a three-way social segregation system with Anglos, Mexicans and African Americans separated by law in most areas of life. This was eventually abolished and Austin's Hispanic population grew rapidly. In 1970, its population was 15% Hispanic, 12% black and 73% non-Hispanic white; by 2010, the city was 35% Hispanic, 48% white and only 8% black.
Austin Population Growth
Austin is currently the fastest growing city in the United States and, from 2011 to 2016, it's expected to have an economic growth rate of over 6%, with a population growth rate approaching 3%. This means it's following a trend common across many major cities in Texas. Eight of the 15 fastest growing cities are in Texas, including San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.
Young, recent college graduates and retiring baby boomers are now making up the majority of new Austinites, all being drawn in for the city's shopping, museums and entertainment, along with affordable housing. Over the past few years, however, construction has not kept up with the population growth, creating a shortage of housing and jumps in home sales and prices.
Demographers believe Austin will continue its excellent growth in the short term, but the pace will eventually slow. Austin is already buckling under its population, with roadways packed and the third worst traffic congestion in any urban area in the US.
A forecast of population growth shows that Austin's metropolitan area's population may hit 3.2 million by 2030.