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Fastest-growing communities are in the West

Associated Press
Published September 22, 2005

WASHINGTON - Twelve of the nation's 20 fastest-growing metropolitan areas are in the West, the Census Bureau says. The fastest growing: Greeley, Colo.

Greeley and its surrounding communities, about 60 miles north of Denver, grew by 16.8 percent, to 211,000 people, between 2000 and 2003, according to a report being released Thursday.

Greeley, whose first settlers included an editor who had worked for the famous 19th century journalist Horace Greeley, ranked just ahead of two other Western communities - St. George, Utah, and Las Vegas.

Three Florida metro areas made the list: No. 4 Naples-Marco Island; No. 9 Cape Coral-Fort Myers; and No. 20 Orlando.

Roy Otto, city manager of top-ranked Greeley, said the area has grown because it's a reasonable commute to Denver and has relatively inexpensive homes.

The Census Bureau defines a metropolitan area as a region containing at least one urbanized area of 50,000 or more people.

The report focused on growth estimates from 2000 to 2003, the most recent information available.

Americans have been moving south and west for decades, with a big jump in population in the South, starting in the 1970s. Still, the West continues to outpace all other regions.

According to the 2000 census, population in the West grew by 19.7 percent in the 1990s, followed by the South with 17.3 percent more people. The Midwest and Northeast posted single-digit increases in population.

[Last modified September 22, 2005, 01:04:14]

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