The U.S. Census Bureau just released its city population estimates for 2019 and ranked cities with populations of 50,000 or more by population growth for 2010-2019 and 2018-2019. Table 1 shows the eight towns in Arkansas that made the list of 719 cities with 50,000 people or more in 2010.

Table 1: Cumulative Estimates of Resident Population Change for Incorporated Places of 50,000 or More in 2010, Ranked by Percent Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019 [table “21” not found /]

Rogers, which added 12,590 residents between 2010 and 2019, ranked first among Arkansas cities and 42nd nationally, with an overall growth rate of 22.4%. Growth rates for Fayetteville, Jonesboro, Conway, and Springdale all showed percentage increases in double-digit numbers, placing them in the upper half of the list of fastest-growing cities in the country. North Little Rock, Little Rock, and Fort Smith also experienced population growth, albeit at a much slower rate.

Table 2: Annual Estimates of Resident Population Change for Incorporated Places of 50,000 or More in 2018, Ranked by Percent Change: July 1, 2018 to July 1, 2019 [table “22” not found /]

Table 2 covers the period from 2018 to 2019 and ranks Arkansas cities by population from among the 774 American cities with 50,000 or more residents in 2018. The list of cities is the same as Table 1 with the addition of Bentonville, which ranked fifth in the nation, increasing its population by 7.4% or 3,804 people. Growth in the rest of the state’s cities for the same period was less robust, and Little Rock and North Little Rock had small population decreases.

Table 3: Annual Population Estimates for Cities and Towns with the Largest Net Population Gains and Losses in Arkansas: July 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019 [table “23” not found /]

Table 3 shows the population estimates for nine Arkansas cities between 2010 and July 1, 2019, with the percentage growth for each year indicated. Bentonville easily tops the list with an average yearly growth rate of 4.9%, adding more than 19,000 new residents over ten years.

Conway’s population increased each year at an average of 1.42%, although growth rates fell below 1% in 2013, 2015, 2016, and again in 2019. Fayetteville grew at a more stable pace, with a slightly higher average overall growth rate than Conway and yearly averages for 2011-2019 that ranged between 1.13% and 2.38%.

Rogers, with a growth rate for 2011-2019 that ranked 42 nationwide, saw robust increases of between 1.5% and 3.5% for every year except 2010. Although percentage increases for 2018 and 2019 tapered off slightly above 1.5%, the city achieved an impressive overall average growth rate of 2.2%, placing second among the Arkansas cities listed. Roger’s neighboring town of Springdale has seen a steady decline in population growth since 2015, culminating in 0.27% for 2019. The city’s overall growth rate of 1.47% ranks fourth among the cities included in the survey.

Jonesboro, the only city on the list from east Arkansas, maintained a healthy overall growth rate of 1.67%, the third-highest among Arkansas cities over 50,000. The town attained its peak growth rate of 2.15% in 2011 and averaged well above 1% for each following year.

Of the three Arkansas cities that recorded periods of population loss during 2011-2019, Little Rock and North Little Rock experienced three consecutive years of decline, Little Rock from 2017-2019 and North Little Rock from 2015-2017. Before 2017 Little Rock’s yearly growth rate averaged well below 1%, and the city had the lowest overall population increase of any of the cities listed. North Little Rock, on the other hand, showed population gains of 1% or better for each year from 2011-2014 until encountering losses in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019.

Fort Smith, the only other Arkansas city to experience population declines, had a rocky growth rate during the decade, losing between 0.1% and 0.3% of its population during 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2018. Although the city managed a slight overall increase for the period, 2011 was the only year where the number of residents grew by more than 1%.

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