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The 20 Alabama cities that grew the most in the last decade

The Alabama cities with the biggest population increases, according to the 2020 Census, gained between 34,901and 3,821 people each.

The 2020 Census revealed where Alabamians are moving to. Alabama is growing — but not everywhere. A few destination cities have received most of the growth over the last decade.

The top 20 cities for actual growth from 2010 to 2020 are:

  1. Huntsville not only added more residents in the past decade, it became the largest city in the entire state of Alabama. Huntsville added 34,901 people to reach 215,006 residents by April 1, 2020. That is a growth rate of 19.38 percent.
  2. Auburn used to be a sleepy college town, except on game days. Now it is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state. Auburn grew from 53,380 residents in 2010 to 76,143 residents in 2020. That is an increase of 22,763 people — 42.64 percent growth.
  3. Madison joins its Madison County neighbor in Huntsville as one of the top migration destinations in Alabama. Madison grew from 42,938 residents in 2010 to 56,933 in 2020. That is an increase of 13,995 people — 32.59 percent.
  4. Hoover has been a destination city for decades and that has not changed. The city that sprawls across southern Jefferson and northern Shelby counties grew from 81,619 residents to 92,606. That is an increase of 10,987 of 13.46 percent.
  5. Tuscaloosa posted another impressive decade of growth growing from 90,468 people in 2010 to 99,600 in 2020. That is an increase of 9,132 people and 10.09 percent.
  6. Its Tuscaloosa County neighbor, Northport, is growing at an even faster rate. Northport increased from 23,330 residents in 2010 to 31,125 in 2020. That is an increase of 7,795 people — 33.41 percent.
  7. Fairhope increased from 15,326 people to 22,477, an increase of 7,151 people or 46.66 percent. Baldwin County was the second-fastest-growing county in the state over the decade despite the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
  8. Trussville in east Jefferson and western St. Clair County posted the eighth largest population increase in the state. Trussville grew from 19,933 residents to 26,123 in 2020. That is an increase of 6,190 people – 31.05 percent.
  9. Phenix City in Russell County came in at No. 9. Phenix City added 5,994 people over the decade, growing from 32,822 to 38,816 residents, or 18.26 percent.
  10. Rounding out the top 10 is Daphne in Baldwin County. The Mobile Bay community grew from 21,570 to 27,462. That is an increase of 5,892 people or 27.32 percent.
  11. Foley, also in Baldwin County, added 5,717 people over the decade growing from 14,618 residents to 20,335 in the last Census. That is 39.11 percent growth.
  12. The de facto capital of the Wiregrass, Dothan, posted the 12th biggest gain growing from 65,496 residents to 71,072. That is an increase of 5,576 or 8.51 percent.
  13. Gulf Shores has transformed itself from just a summer tourist destination to a significant Alabama city. Gulf Shores grew its population from 9,741 residents to  15,014. That translates into an increase of 5,273 residents or 54.13 percent growth.
  14. Vestavia Hills joins its neighbor in Hoover as one of the most desirable places to live in the Birmingham metro area growing from 34,033 residents in 2010 to 39,102 in 2020. That is an increase of 5,069 residents or 14.89 percent.
  15. The Birmingham-Hoover metro area has seen dramatic migration south. Nowhere is that more true than in Calera. The south Shelby County city grew from 11,620 residents in 2010 to 16,494 in 2020. That is an increase of 4,874, or 41.94 percent growth.
  16. Likewise, new construction in Shelby County has propelled Chelsea to number 16 on the list. The community grew from 10,183 residents to 14,982, That is an increase of 4,799 people, a 47.13 percent growth rate.
  17. Opelika in Lee County also experienced significant growth coming in at number 17. Opelika grew from 26,477 people to 30,995. An increase of 4,518 people or 17.06 percent growth.
  18. Helena is another Shelby County city that made the top 20. Helena added 4,121 residents over the decade, increasing from 16,793 to 20,914 in the latest Census. That is a 24.54 percent growth rate.
  19. Pike Road in Montgomery County posted spectacular 74.6 percent growth. The small city grew from just 5,406 people in 2010 to 9,439 in 2020, The increase of 4,033 people was the 19th largest in the state over the decade.
  20. Prattville, which straddles Elmore and Autauga counties, rounded out the top 20 with a Census increase of 3,821 residents. The I-65 community to the north of Montgomery grew from 33,960 residents in 2010 to 37,781 in 2020. That is an increase of 11.25 percent.

The Census data will be used by the Alabama state legislature to reapportion and redistrict the state ahead of the 2022 elections.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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