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2010 Urban Area Population Numbers Released

The Census Bureau recently announced the 2010 populations of the country's urbanized areas. Eight out of ten Americans are now urbanites. Urbanized area populations are considered by many to be the best definition of a "city's" true size and scale. Find out where Jacksonville ranks and who our similarly scaled peer communities really are.

Published March 28, 2012 in News      16 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


The next time someone compares congestion in Atlanta or Miami with Jacksonville, don't forget to understand that those places are at least four times larger in population.  In terms of scale, Jacksonville's true peers are cities like Charlotte, Providence, Memphis, Salt Lake City, Louisville, and Nashville.

Rank--City--State--2010 Urban Area Population

 1. New York--Newark, NY--NJ--CT 18,351,295
 2. Los Angeles--Long Beach--Anaheim, CA 12,150,996
 3. Chicago, IL--IN 8,608,208
 4. Miami, FL 5,502,379
 5. Philadelphia, PA--NJ--DE--MD 5,441,567
 6. Dallas--Fort Worth--Arlington, TX 5,121,892
 7. Houston, TX 4,944,332
 8. Washington, DC--VA--MD 4,586,770
 9. Atlanta, GA 4,515,419
10. Boston, MA--NH--RI 4,181,019

11. Detroit, MI   3,734,090
12. Phoenix--Mesa, AZ  3,629,114
13. San Francisco--Oakland, CA 3,281,212
14. Seattle, WA   3,059,393
15. San Diego, CA   2,956,746
16. Minneapolis--St. Paul, MN--WI 2,650,890
17. Tampa--St. Petersburg, FL 2,441,770
18. Denver--Aurora, CO  2,374,203
19. Baltimore, MD   2,203,663
20. St. Louis, MO--IL  2,150,706

21. San Juan, PR   2,148,346
22. Riverside--San Bernardino, CA 1,932,666
23. Las Vegas--Henderson, NV 1,886,011
24. Portland, OR--WA  1,849,898
25. Cleveland, OH  1,780,673
26. San Antonio, TX  1,758,210
27. Pittsburgh, PA  1,733,853
28. Sacramento, CA  1,723,634
29. San Jose, CA  1,664,496
30. Cincinnati, OH--KY--IN 1,624,827

31. Kansas City, MO--KS 1,519,417
32. Orlando, FL  1,510,516
33. Indianapolis, IN 1,487,483
34. Virginia Beach, VA 1,439,666
35. Milwaukee, WI  1,376,476
36. Columbus, OH  1,368,035
37. Austin, TX  1,362,416
38. Charlotte, NC--SC 1,249,442
39. Providence, RI--MA 1,190,956
40. Jacksonville, FL 1,065,219

41. Memphis, TN--MS--AR 1,060,061
42. Salt Lake City--West Valley City, UT 1,021,243
43. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY--IN 972,546
44. Nashville-Davidson, TN   969,587
45. Richmond, VA   953,556
46. Buffalo, NY   935,906
47. Hartford, CT   924,859
48. Bridgeport--Stamford, CT--NY 923,311
49. New Orleans, LA   899,703
50. Raleigh, NC   884,891

51. Oklahoma City, OK  861,505
52. Tucson, AZ  843,168
53. El Paso, TX--NM  803,086
54. Urban Honolulu, HI 802,459
55. Birmingham, AL  749,495
56. Albuquerque, NM  741,318
57. McAllen, TX  728,825
58. Omaha, NE--IA  725,008
59. Dayton, OH  724,091
60. Rochester, NY  720,572

61. Allentown, PA--NJ 664,651
62. Tulsa, OK  655,479
63. Fresno, CA  654,628
64. Sarasota--Bradenton, FL 643,260
65. Springfield, MA--CT 621,300
66. Concord, CA  615,968
67. Albany--Schenectady, NY 594,962
68. Baton Rouge, LA  594,309
69. Mission Viejo--Lake Forest--San Clemente, CA 583,681
70. Grand Rapids, MI 569,935

71. Akron, OH  569,499
72. New Haven, CT  562,839
73. Colorado Springs, CO 559,409
74. Knoxville, TN  558,696
75. Columbia, SC  549,777
76. Charleston--North Charleston, SC 548,404
77. Ogden--Layton, UT 546,026
78. Cape Coral, FL  530,290
79. Bakersfield, CA  523,994
80. Toledo, OH--MI  507,643

81. Worcester, MA--CT 486,514
82. Provo--Orem, UT  482,819
83. Wichita, KS  472,870
84. Palm Bay--Melbourne, FL 452,791
85. Des Moines, IA  450,070
86. Harrisburg, PA  444,474
87. Murrieta--Temecula--Menifee, CA 441,546
88. Little Rock, AR   431,388
89. Poughkeepsie--Newburgh, NY--NJ 423,566
90. Syracuse, NY  412,317

91. Lancaster, PA  402,004
92. Madison, WI  401,661
93. Greenville, SC  400,492
94. Reno, NV--CA  392,141
95. Winston-Salem, NC 391,024
96. Spokane, WA 387,847
97. Youngstown, OH--PA 387,550
98. Augusta-Richmond County, GA--SC 386,787
99. Scranton, PA 381,502
100. Chattanooga, TN--GA 381,112

Full list:

2000 Census Urban Area Peer Cities

Over the last decade, Jacksonville's urbanized area surpassed Salt Lake City, Bridgeport, and Memphis in population.  During the same time, Jacksonville was passed by Charlotte.  The Charlotte, NC area grew at the fastest rate in the country, increasing by 64.6 percent, followed by Austin, Texas, at 51.1 percent.

38. Buffalo, NY 976,703
39. Memphis, TN--MS--AR 972,091
40. Austin, TX 901,920
41. Bridgeport-Stamford, CT--NY 888,890
42. Salt Lake City, UT 887,650
43. Jacksonville, FL 882,295
44. Louisville, KY--IN 863,582
45. Hartford, CT 851,535
46. Richmond, VA 818,836
47. Charlotte, NC--SC 758,927
48. Nashville-Davidson, TN 749,935

Update by Ennis Davis.



March 28, 2012, 07:56:02 AM
Great measure for how many people in a metro live contiguously at a density level of perhaps 1,000 or 2,000 ppsm, but not the best measure of how urban and congested cities really are.


March 28, 2012, 08:05:34 AM
also note that this is a measure of the urbanized area, not the metropolitan an example, St. Augustine is a separate urbanized area of about 70,000 people, but it is still part of the larger metro. area.


March 28, 2012, 08:20:28 AM
Bingo. Urban areas are a completely different animal from metropolitan areas. One focuses on areas of contiguous levels of developed density. The other focuses on various factors of influence that a core city has on the region surrounding it. Neither are used to analyze roadway links.  However it's focus on developed density makes urbanized areas a great method for determining the true size of a community.

Garden guy

March 28, 2012, 08:29:59 AM
How is st aug a part of jax metro? why not just add in lake city in the metro area


March 28, 2012, 09:08:28 AM
because metro areas are defined by things like commuting patterns....if 25% of a county's residents commute to the central area (like Jax.) for work, then it is included.

the official metropolitan area for Jacksonville includes Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns Counties...and the 2010 population of that area is approxinmately 1.35 million.

What not expected, it is still unknown whether Putnam County will get added to the official metro area....Palm Coast has been added to the Daytona Beach urbanized area so it would seem likely Flagler County will be part of that metro. area.


March 28, 2012, 09:42:22 AM
^I think what we're seeing in Flagler County is what has already happened in some other places, such as Polk County, where it's become an increasingly continuous middle ground between two larger urban areas (in this case, Greater Jacksonville and Daytona). As sprawl continues, unfortunately we've seen this more and more in Florida. In southern Florida, for example, there's now basically continuous development from Homestead all the way to the Space Coast.


March 28, 2012, 10:30:44 AM
So do the Miami numbers include Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach?  Neither city is on the full list.  While it's true it's hard to tell where one city ends and another begins when you travel through South Florida, I'm not sure Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties should all be considered as one.


March 28, 2012, 10:47:08 AM
A Whimsical OCLAWAHA RANT....

This is, in my opinion, so much hogwash from boys and girls who need a federal job. People drawing lines on a map based what? As we see in the Flagler-Daytona-Orlando.... hell, let's toss in Key West as part of the SMA. Perhaps we should offer a deal with Tallahassee? We'll give Orange Park, Mandarin and Ponte Vedra to Orlando's CSA in exchange for 2 commuter rail trips a day. Over in California the numbers are just as insane., Rosamond - Population 14,000 is far closer to Los Angeles via the Antelope Valley Freeway, then the town of Atolia, population 1 or 2...MAYBE, but Atolia is part of the Los Angeles CSA! Why? Some nut in an office in Washington D.C. decided if it's in San Bernandino County then it's in 'Los Angeles.'

Jump to Jacksonville, it is possible to drive from Ponce Inlet to Mayport without ever really getting too far from human habitation. Going from Daytona Beach to Deltona-Deland you'll pass through pristine hammocks. BUT! Daytona is part of the Orlando CSA, though it could be argued that we are tied a hell of a lot tighter.

Now going to 'Urbanized areas', if you still trust these numbers, you have to wonder where the fools in Washington drew the line. Was it Mandarin? How about Julington Plantation? Rivertown? Orangedale? World Golf Village? All of these are WAY more connected by continuous human activity then many of the places on their maps. Did they leave Mayport off? Gotta count on Mayport! Try going out highway 21 WITHOUT contiguous lines of houses or stores, ditto for Green Cove Springs via 17. I'm not arguing that suburban Flemming Island, or WGV is 'urban' but it is certainly suburban directly attached to urban. So again, where do you draw the line? Brooklyn, Riverside, or perhaps LaVilla? 

Cities fight over this stuff constantly as EVERYTHING Washington does comes from these numbers. There seems to be a growing 'agenda' in both Tallahassee and Washington to just change the name of the entire state to 'Greater Orlando,' much to the detriment of the 'also ran' places like Pensacola, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Increasingly Miami... who cares, nobody in Miami speaks the language anymore anyway right? I think we need a MUCH more pro active push to line some of these numbers in a logical way that fits the various Jacksonville markets, 'Urbanized,' legal city limits, SMA and or CSA.

You know, Waycross would look good as part of urban Jacksonville right? And if you ever want some time to think about all of this in compete peace and quiet, here's Atolia, California...Part of 'Greater Los Angeles.'

Captain Zissou

March 28, 2012, 11:05:37 AM
How is st aug a part of jax metro? why not just add in lake city in the metro area

I work in an office of 55 people.  3 of them drive in from St Augustine everyday.  Our office is off of Bowden road.  I don't think our office is unique in that.  There is a strong link between the employment center of Jacksonville and the surrounding smaller towns.  Many people prefer the atmosphere and lifestyle of living in St A, but there aren't enough job opportunities to support them in St Augustine.  Thus, they drive up here.

Captain Zissou

March 28, 2012, 11:13:00 AM
I think we are within a good grouping of peer cities around the million person mark. However, these are not cities that readily come to mind as far as vacation destinations go.  I have only briefly been in Hartford, Orlando, and Salt Lake.  I know the chamber has used Indianapolis as a city to learn from, but I don't know anything about Providence, Louisville, or Columbus.

There's a chance I can get to Hartford, Richmond, Nashville, Orlando, and potentially Salt Lake within the next year.  I will be diligently studying the cities and their urban centers.  There is a lot we can learn from these cities, both things that they have done well and things that they have done poorly.  In the past I have created threads regarding my travels to DC, Charlotte, and Atlanta, but those are not really fair comparisons to our fair city. 


March 28, 2012, 11:55:01 AM
Louisville had a great urban center.  Museum Row in the West Main District and Fourth Street Live which has free concerts all during the summer. 


March 28, 2012, 12:07:39 PM
So do the Miami numbers include Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach?  Neither city is on the full list.  While it's true it's hard to tell where one city ends and another begins when you travel through South Florida, I'm not sure Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties should all be considered as one.
Yes, pretty much all the developed area of Broward and Palm Beach are part of Miami's urban area. The idea between an "urban area" versus a "metropolitan area" is that it includes the area that has the most substantial, most continuous development. Obviously there are no breaks from Homestead up to Jupiter. But at this point, however, the "breaks" they choose between Palm Beach to the south and Stuart to the north are pretty arbitrary.


March 28, 2012, 12:49:32 PM
Here's a map of Jacksonville's Urbanized Area from the 2000 Census, from Wikipedia. I don't know if this was hand made using Census data or taken directly from the Census. It would be interesting to compare.


March 28, 2012, 01:11:17 PM
They made a mistake not connecting Middleburg and the Oakleaf/ Argyle area those are populated continuously from Jax.


March 28, 2012, 04:02:26 PM
They made a mistake not connecting Middleburg and the Oakleaf/ Argyle area those are populated continuously from Jax.

they may not have been in 2000...the 2010 urbanized area maps are due out any day
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