fly high, eagles
Fort Worth might be one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., but there's one North Texas city that's outdoing it in a different category of population growth. A new study by university scholarship website BrokeScholar has deemed Denton the No. 6 fastest-growing college town in the country.
Denton's population in 2000 was 84,412; in 2023 the population has nearly doubled to 160,564. For scale, U.S. News and World Report says the University of North Texas alone had an undergraduate enrollment of 32,603 in the fall of 2021. Texas Woman's University's fall 2021 enrollment was 10,283 students.
It's not just a university or its enrollment that attracts newcomers, the study says, but the "cultural oasis" that the college towns maintain.
"These collegiate strongholds benefit from an influx of new residents eager to enjoy a good football game and an existing mix of music, culture, and young energy," the report's author wrote.
BrokeScholar estimates the city's population to expand to over 195,000 people by 2030, and about 342,000 people by 2050.
Richardson came in at No. 47 for the fastest-growing college towns, with a 28 percent growth rate from 2000 to 2023, putting the city's current population at 117,528 residents.
Also in the top 10 is San Marcos, in between Austin and San Antonio, ranking No. 4 with an overall population of 70,372 residents. College Station earned No. 8 with an overall population of 123,238 in 2023, with an estimate growth of 19 percent to 147,126 residents by 2030.
The top 10 fastest-growing college towns in the U.S. are:
- No. 1 – Bozeman, Montana
- No. 2 – Oxford, Mississippi
- No. 3 – Cedar City, Utah
- No. 4 – San Marcos, Texas
- No. 5 – Auburn, Alabama
- No. 6 – Denton, Texas
- No. 7 – Cullowhee, North Carolina
- No. 8 – College Station, Texas
- No. 9 – Fayetteville, Arkansas
- No. 10 – Raleigh, North Carolina
BrokeScholar pulled data from the U.S. Census Bureau between 2000 and 2023 to determine annual growth rates and make population projections for 2030.
The full report and its methodology can be found on brokescholar.com.