BCN Staff – Aug. 19, 2021 — Little Rock reached a major milestone today after official joining the ranks of the nation’s 121 largest cities with at least 200,000 people, jumping ahead in the past 10 years over similar sized urban communities as Mobile and Montgomery, Ala., Augusta, Ga., Shreveport, La., and Akron, Ohio.
At a press conference on Thursday livestreamed on YouTube.com and Facebook Live, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. released new 2020 Census data showing that Little Rock now has 202,591 residents, the first time in state history for an Arkansas city.
“Today I’m happy, I’m excited, and I’m proud to announce that Little Rock has finally cleared 200,000 population,” said Scott. “Our growth shows that people find Little Rock attractive. Yes, this is something we already know, but it proves just how attractive we are. Our growth shows that people find Little Rock a great place to be in, no matter the shape, form, or size of their family.”
According to Scott, the new count represents an increase of 9,067 new residents in the past 10 years, or a growth rate of 4.69%. According to the American Community Survey estimate in 2019, the city’s population was 197,958, meaning the city outpaced estimated size based on annual sampling data, particularly leading up to 2020.
The Census data also show a diversifying city, Mayor Scott said, with a large gain among the population identifying as “two or more races,” up 3,374 to 11,626 or up 244.58%. Those identifying as “white alone” make up 44% of the population, while all other single and multiracial categories comprise 56% of the city’s residents. The Hispanic and Latino population (of any race) grew from 13,076 to 20,285, a growth rate of 55.13%.
“By looking closely at this data, we see that Little Rock is beautifully diverse and that diversity has grown since 2010,” said Scott. “Those new residents means new customers and new businesses, which in turn means an increase in tax revenues, with which we can invest more in what makes Little Rock great and continue to improve our quality of lives and place.”
Besides the new data on Little Rock, the newly released 2020 Census data also shows that Arkansas total population has grown to 3,011, 524, up 95,606 or 3.3% from the last decennial census. Pulaski County remains the largest of Arkansas 75 counties with 399,125 residents, followed by fast-growing Benton and Washington counties in Northwest Arkansas with populations 284,333 and 245,871, respectively.
Similarly, the new census data shows the Central Arkansas metropolitan service area (MSA) that includes Little Rock, and the Northwest Arkansas MSA that includes Springdale, Fayetteville, Rogers and Bentonville, are still the state’s most populous urban populations with respective totals of 748,031 and 546,725. The Memphis MSA, which includes 1,337,779 residents mostly from Tennessee’s second largest city, is also included among Arkansas’ eight MSAs because of the proximity of West Memphis and Crittenden County. Like Memphis and West Memphis, the Texarkana MSA also includes populations of both twin cities in Arkansas and Texas.
Arkansas now tops 3 million residents as Pine Bluff MSA sees nation’s largest population decline since 2010
According to earlier Census Bureau population estimates, Arkansas’ total population first rose above 3 million in 2017 when the state’s overall resident count rose to 3,080,156. Among Arkansas’ five other urban areas, the Fort Smith, Texarkana, Jonesboro, Hot Springs, and Pine Bluff are the remaining MSAs with over 80,000 residents.
The U.S. Census defines MSAs as urbanized areas with at least one city and a minimum population of 50,000. Among the nation’s 384 MSAs, Pine Bluff and Danville, Ill., led the nation’s metro areas with the largest percentage population declines over the past decade at 12.5% and 9.1%, respectively.
Nationally, the initial data release from the 10-year population survey on Aug. 12 consisted of redistricting data released to states and the public showing the U.S. population now at 331,449, 281, an increase of 22,703,743, or 7.4%. The Bureau will deliver final, more comprehensive data on Sept. 30.
“We are excited to reach this milestone of delivering the first detailed statistics from the 2020 Census,” said acting Census Bureau Director Ron Jarmin. “We appreciate the public’s patience as Census Bureau staff worked diligently to process these data and ensure it meets our quality standards.”
Among the key takeaways from the early data is the nation’s White population decreased by 8.6% since 2010, the first time in U.S. history. Still, those Americans who identify only as White remained the largest race or ethnicity group in the nation with 204.3 million people. Overall, 235.4 million people reported White alone or in combination with another group. Other key population data includes:
- The “two or more races” population, commonly referred to as multiracial, has changed considerably since 2010. Those who now identify as multiracial have jumped a whopping 276% in the last decade to 33.8 million, compared to only 9 million in 2010.
- All the “race alone” or in combination groups also experienced increases. The “some other race” alone or in combination group increased 129% to 49.9 million, surpassing the Black or African American population at 46.9 million as the second-largest race alone or in combination group.
- The Hispanic or Latino population, which includes people of any race, was 62.1 million in 2020. The Hispanic or Latino population grew 23%, while the population that was not of Hispanic or Latino origin grew 4.3% since 2010.
- The largest city (incorporated place) in the United States in 2020 remains New York with 8.8 million people.
- 312 of the 384 U.S. metro areas gained population between 2010 and 2020.
- The fastest-growing U.S. metro area between the 2010 Census and 2020 Census was The Villages, FL, which grew 39% from about 93,000 people to about 130,000 people.
- Utah also had the fastest-growing adult population at 22.8% growth.