Census: The 10 most populous US cities are led by NYC, Los Angeles, and Chicago; Phoenix leapfrogs Philadelphia to claim the No. 5 spot

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A row of brownstones in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.
1. New York
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The skyline of Lower Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge.

New York City is by far the most populous city in the United States, with more than 8.8 million residents across the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.

Its population increased by 7.7 percent from 2010, when the census recorded a population of roughly 8.2 million residents.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year, many residents left New York for locales with less density and more affordable housing, but the out migration wasn't enough to dent the city's strong growth over the past decade.

2. Los Angeles
Los Angeles skyline
The downtown Los Angeles skyline.

Los Angeles remained the second most populous city in the United States, with nearly 3.9 million residents, up from 3.79 million residents in 2000.

The city's population grew by 2.8 percent between 2010 and 2020.

With over 10 million residents, Los Angeles County, which includes the city of Los Angeles and municipalities such as Santa Monica, Burbank, and Long Beach, is the most populous county in the country.

3. Chicago
Chicago skyline
A view of the Chicago skyline.

Chicago, the third-largest city in the United States and the economic engine of the Midwest, now boasts a population of nearly 2.75 million residents, up from the roughly 2.7 million recorded in the 2010 Census.

Between 2010 and 2020, the city grew by 1.9 percent, reversing a 6.9 percent population decline from 2000 to 2010.

4. Houston
Houston
Downtown Houston.

Houston is the largest city in Texas, with more than 2.3 million residents, according to the 2020 Census, adding a little over 200,000 residents from the last census count.

In 2010, there were nearly 2.1 million residents recorded living in this dynamic Sun Belt city.

5. Phoenix
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Phoenix was the fastest-growing big city in the United States from 2010 to 2020.

Arizona has emerged as one of the most politically-competitive states in the county, and much of the reason has to do with the explosive growth in Phoenix and its anchor, Maricopa County.

Phoenix serves as both the state capital and the seat of Maricopa, which contains roughly 61 percent of the state's population.

During the last decade, Phoenix moved past Philadelphia to become the fifth-most populous city in the United States, with over 1.6 million residents, according to Census figures.

6. Philadelphia
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The Liberty Bell is an enduring symbol of American independence.

Philadelphia is one of the most historic cities in the United States, with a key geographic location between Boston and Washington, DC.

The City of Brotherly Love may have lost its No. 5 spot to Phoenix, but it was no slouch in the growth department, boasting a population slightly above 1.6 million and a growth rate of 5.1 percent between 2010 and 2020.

7. San Antonio
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The San Antonio River Walk.

San Antonio experienced robust growth in the past decade, growing from 1.32 million residents in 2010 to 1.43 million by the end of the decade, an 8.1 percent increase.

 

 

8. San Diego
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A view of San Diego.

San Diego boasts some of the most beautiful weather in the entire country, and in the last decade, the coastal city continued to grow — from 1.3 million in 2010 to nearly 1.4 million in 2020.

 

9. Dallas
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Downtown Dallas.

Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas, in what has become a rapidly-changing Sun Belt metropolitan area.

The city's population grew from nearly 1.2 million in 2010 to a little over 1.3 million in 2020.

10. San Jose, Calif.
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A view of Santana Row in San Jose, California.

San Jose is the anchor of the Silicon Valley and the most populous city in Northern California.

From 2010 to 2020, the city experienced a 7.1 percent population growth and now boasts a population of 1.01 million people.

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