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The skyline of downtown Nashville. The city grew 1.5% last year and 5.1% since 2010. / Nashville Conventions & Visitors Bureau

NASHVILLE - Americans' growing love affair with cities shows few signs of abating, with several large cities, including this one, growing last year at several times the national rate, suggest new findings from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Census data out Thursday, show that in 2013 Americans kept moving to cities, favoring them over suburbs across the USA. In a few areas, the shift has resulted in unprecedented changes: San Jose, in the heart of California's Silicon Valley, is poised to crack the million-resident milestone for the first time. It is the 10th-largest city, surpassing its neighbor San Francisco, as well as places like Austin, Indianapolis and Jacksonville.

Here in Nashville, a mix of music and arts, higher education - it's the home of Vanderbilt and Tennessee State universities - and a flourishing health care management industry have pushed the city into the list of top 25 cities. The city grew 1.5% last year and 5.1% since 2010. The cradle of country music could soon grow larger than Boston, the cradle of the American Revolution.

While it's still growing slowly, Boston saw its overall ranking drop sharply last year as three cities - Seattle, Denver and Washington - crept past it. The trio charged ahead with above-average growth rates topping 2%, the figures show. Overall, the USA grew at a rate of just 0.7%, the lowest since just after the Great Depression. By contrast, Seattle last year grew 2.8%.

The Census results, coming on the heels of strong city growth from 2010 to 2012, suggest that the trend is actually slowing a bit, says Brookings Institution demographer William Frey. But three years past 2010, he says, the USA's urban growth shows no signs of ending.

"This looks like it could be the Decade of the City," he says.

Frey adds, however, that he'll be watching next year's data to see if suburban growth picks up as the Millennial generation - 86 million Americans between the ages of 10 and 30 - begin having children in larger numbers.

His analysis of the new data found that in both the South and West, cities of all sizes saw the most consistent rise in population, with most growing at least 1%. By contrast, few cities in the Northeast or Midwest grew that much.

Among other trends:

? Modest growth is returning to Sun Belt cities that boomed before the recession. Since 2010, Las Vegas has grown about 3.3%, faster than most cities its size, but still well below its boom pace.

? New Orleans continued its post-Hurricane Katrina comeback, growing 2.4% to reach 379,000. It has added 35,000 since 2010, but it's still 23% smaller than before post-Katrina flooding struck in 2005.

? Baltimore, once among the most populous cities in the USA, is seeing little to no growth and has lost 4.2% of its population since 2000. If current trends continue, Baltimore will be surpassed next year by Oklahoma City, which is riding an oil and natural gas drilling boom.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: In latest U.S. Census figures, cities continue growing

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