Western cities lead the U.S. in population growth. New York's population swells.
NEW YORK (CNN/ Money) - Greeley, Colorado was the fastest-growing metro area in the United States from April 1, 2000 through July 31, 2003, according to figures released Thursday by the Census Bureau. The city north of Denver increased its population by 16.8 percent.
Trailing slightly behind Greeley among the mushrooming metropolises were St. George, Utah, with 15.2 percent growth, and Las Vegas-Paradise, Nevada, at 14.6 percent.
They were the second and third fastest-growing metro areas in the nation.
The New York metro area continued its long reign as the most populous in America. In 2003, Gotham's population reached 18.6 million people. Los Angeles was second at 12.8 million, followed by Chicago with 9.3 million.
Atlanta -- which ranked No. 11 in 2000 -- broke into the top 10 most-populous metro areas in 2003, with a No. 10 finish.
Among small towns, which the Census Bureau calls "micropolitan" areas, Florida's Palm Coast, between Jacksonville and Daytona, stood out, growing by nearly 25 percent during the period.
Other fast growing micropolises included Heber, Utah (15.1 percent), and East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania (11.4 percent).
Horace Greeley fans, the Colorado town's namesake, will be pleased to know that the West continued to set the pace among the regions. It increased its population by 5.5 percent during the period. The South came in second at 5.1 percent, followed by the Midwest (2.0 percent) and the Northeast (1.5 percent).
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