What are the most populated cities in America?
Things have really changed between the 2010 and 2020 Censuses — bringing some shifts to the list of largest U.S. cities. See where the biggest cities rank, which cities grew the most and which ones fell behind according to the latest Census data. Also, a fun fact for 2020: it’s the first time all 10 of the largest cities had over 1 million residents!
Note: Despite the challenges the country faced while responses were being collected, the 2020 Census data is valid. Dr. Ron Jarmin, deputy director and chief operating officer of the U.S. Census Bureau, stated the 2020 Census had a higher-than-previous self-response rate and the Bureau was able to count 99.98% of addresses included in the census.
List of U.S. cities by population
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, these are the 10 largest U.S. cities:
- New York City, NY – 8,804,190
- Los Angeles, CA – 3,898,747
- Chicago, IL – 2,746,388
- Houston, TX – 2,304,580
- Phoenix, AZ – 1,608,139
- Philadelphia, PA – 1,603,797
- San Antonio, TX – 1,434,625
- San Diego, CA – 1,386,932
- Dallas, TX – 1,304,379
- San Jose, CA – 1,013,240
1. New York City, NY
Population changes: NYC had a net gain of 629,057 residents since the last census.
Did you know: In 1781, New York passed Philadelphia and Boston as the largest city in the country, and it’s stayed in the top spot ever since. Many of the 8.8 million residents come here because it’s a global powerhouse in industries like finance, media, fashion, technology, entertainment and tourism.
2. Los Angeles, CA
Population changes: LA’s growth has remained steady over the last 20 years, growing around 2.5% between the 2000 and 2010 counts, and then growing by 2.8% between 2010 and 2020. While Los Angeles is the 2nd most populated city in the U.S., looking to the surrounding area, Los Angeles County is the largest in the nation, with over 10 million residents.
Did you know? In Spanish, its name means “the angels,” which is why the 3.8 million residents call it the City of Angels.
3. Chicago, IL
Population changes: Though the state of Illinois has experienced a 1.2% decline in population in the last 10 years, the population of Chicago has remained steady with just 1.8% growth, equating to around just 50,000 net new residents over the last 10 years.
Did you know? Chicago is home to the nation’s longest continuous street located within the same city, Western Avenue. If you walked the entire 23.5-mile length, you would take over 45,000 steps!
4. Houston, TX
Population change: Houston is one of the fastest-growing cities in America, growing over 10% since the last census — that’s comparable to the total population of Birmingham, AL moving to Houston in the last 10 years.
Did you know? Houston is very culturally diverse, with the 2.3 million residents speaking over 90 languages.
5. Phoenix, AZ
Population change: Phoenix had the largest change in the number of residents over the last 10 years, and this growth boosted it from position #6 in 2010 to #5 in 2020, just passing Philadelphia. This position switch was the only change to the previous list of biggest cities in America.
Did you know? Because the city has a total area of 517.9 square miles (about 3,165 people per square mile), the 1.6 million residents of Phoenix have plenty of room to move around! In contrast, New York has close to 27,000 people per square mile.
6. Philadelphia, PA
Population change: Philadelphia has been growing steadily over the last 10 years. According to the Pew Charitable Trust’s State of the City report, most of the growth came from young adults and immigrants.
Did you know? While you might associate Philly with cheesesteaks, it’s also known for pretzels. A Philadelphia pretzel looks different from the classic circular intertwined twist; it’s more of an elongated figure 8. And when you add up all pretzel consumption, Philly’s 1.6 million residents eat a lot of them — on average 12 times the number of pretzels that the average American eats.
7. San Antonio, TX
Population change: San Antonio is 3rd on the list for numeric growth, with around 107,000 new residents in the last 10 years, which is close to a 17% change. Uniquely, the increase comes almost equally from people migrating to the area and people being born there.
Did you know? Along with the 1.4 million residents who call San Antonio home, over 37 million people visit each year to see sights like the Alamo and the River Walk.
8. San Diego, CA
Population change: Since the 2010 Census, San Diego’s population grew at a rate of around 9%, but the growth is slowing. According to the Department of Finance, the change is due to fewer births, increased deaths in the aging population, and higher rates of people moving from the area.
Did you know? San Diego is home to the country’s largest military community, with over 10,000 active-duty service members contributing to the population.
9. Dallas, TX
Population change: Dallas just keeps growing! On average, 1,000 people move to the area every day, making the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area the fastest-growing metro area for the 2nd decade in a row.
Did you know? To serve the 1.3 million population, you need a lot of stores and businesses. DFW has more shopping centers per capita than any other city.
10. San Jose, CA
Population change: Santa Clara County may have the highest median income in California, but rising housing costs have slowed migration to San Jose. In recent years, some of the population growth is due to the annexation of unincorporated communities surrounding the city.
Did you know? San Jose gets an average of 300 days of sunshine per year. The area offers over 160 parks and gardens with 60 miles of trails, so the 1 million residents can take advantage of the great weather.
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