September 22, 2005

Colorado town fastest-growing in US: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Greely, Colorado, a town on Denver's
far north suburban fringes, was the nation's fastest-growing
metropolitan area between 2000 and 2003, the Census Bureau said
on Thursday.

A new report on metropolitan and "micropolitan" population
trends shows that distant suburban towns in the South and West
had the biggest percentage growth between April 1, 2000 and
July 1, 2003, mirroring regional and state population trends.

Greeley was founded in 1869 by New York Tribune Editor
Horace Greeley as a "colony" for individuals with high moral
standards. Although he popularized the phrase, "Go west, young
man, go west," Greeley visited the town only once.

In recent years, the city of 85,000 and surrounding towns
are fast becoming a bedroom community for people seeking to
escape higher housing costs in the Denver area, some 50 miles
to the south.

The Census report showed Greeley's growth at 16.8 percent,
followed by St. George, Utah, a new metro area 118 miles
northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, at 15.2 percent. The Las
Vegas-Paradise, Nevada, area was third with 14.6 percent

The Census Bureau said metropolitan area populations grew
most quickly in the West, at 5.5 percent, followed by the South
at 5.1 percent, the Midwest at 2.0 percent and the Northeast at
1.5 percent.

The New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, New York,
area remained the nation's most populous metropolitan area in
2003, with 18.6 million people, followed by Los Angeles-Long
Beach-Santa Ana, California, with 12.8 million.

The Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Illinois, area was third
with 9.3 million people.

Among smaller cities and towns, Palm Coast, Florida, was
the fastest-growing "micro-area," growing nearly 25 percent
between 200 and 2003. Heber, Utah, 45 miles east of Salt Lake
City, was second at 15.1 percent, and East Stroudsburg,
Pennsylvania, 75 miles west of New York City, grew 11.4

The bureau said that in 2003, more than one-half the U.S.
population lived in metropolitan areas with populations of 1
million or more, and one-quarter of the population lived in
metro areas with 5 million or more residents.