While most major U.S. cities saw a decrease in population during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, San Antonio saw the largest increase in population in the nation from 2020 to 2021, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday.

San Antonio’s population increased by .9%, or 13,626 people, from July 2020 to July 2021, followed closely by Phoenix, which increased by .8%, or 13,224 people. Meanwhile, eight other cities with populations of over 1 million people saw a decline in population. 

New York led the way with the biggest population decline on a percentage basis, followed by San Jose, California; Chicago; Philadelphia; Dallas; Los Angeles; Houston, and San Diego. 

For San Antonio, the new census numbers continue a pattern of strong population growth. Since the last census in 2010, the city has grown by more than 100,000 people, according to the Census Bureau.

Although San Antonio was one of two big cities nationwide to post population growth, smaller Texas cities also saw gains as Texas as a whole leads the nation in adding new residents. New Braunfels added 7,538 people, which was a 8.3% population increase over the previous year.

Fort Worth saw an increase in population of 12,916, while the Dallas suburb of Frisco added 7,933 people. Other Dallas-area cities saw significant growth: Denton with 5,844 new residents and McKinney with 5,569.

In the Austin area, the population of Georgetown increased by 7,139, and Leander gained 6,159 residents. Austin itself saw an increase of 1,056 people.

Two other large cities experienced relatively small population growth, including Jacksonville, Florida, with an additional 4,151 people, and and Columbus, Ohio, which saw an increase of 668 people.

While New York remained the nation’s largest city, it was followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas and San Jose. 

Avatar photo

Raquel Torres

Raquel Torres is the San Antonio Report's breaking news reporter. She previously worked at the Tyler Morning Telegraph and is a 2020 graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University.