How Much Does It Cost to Live in the Country’s Fastest-Growing Cities?

A hillside with many houses in Irvine in southern Orange County, California, with mountains in the background.
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Among the least surprising trends to emerge from last week’s release of United States Census Bureau data was that the fastest-growing cities over the past decade were all concentrated in the South and West.

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That’s been the trend for a long time, and it shows no signs of abating. The fastest-growing big city was Phoenix, which saw its population rise from 1.4 million people in 2010 to 1.6 million in 2020, for a growth rate of 11.2%, The New York Times reported.

But Phoenix didn’t have the fastest growth rate among all cities. That honor went to Buckeye, Arizona, a western suburb of Phoenix that saw its population increase nearly 80% to 91,000, according to an Aug. 12 Census Bureau tweet.

All 10 of the fastest-growing cities grew by at least 44% during the decade. Four are located in Texas, two in Arizona, and one each in California, Idaho, Utah and Washington.

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In case you want to join others in moving to one of these bustling burgs, you’ll want to know how much it costs to live there. GOBankingRates took a look at the cost of living in each of the 10 fastest-growing cities to give you an idea of what to expect.

Data for the cities listed below was taken from the website. The scores are based on a U.S. average of 100, meaning that if a cost-of-living category is above 100, it is more expensive than average, and if it is below 100, it is less expensive than average.

Only one of the cities came in with an overall score below 100 — not exactly surprising, considering that rapid growth often brings higher prices. The most expensive of the cities by overall score is Irvine, California. The least expensive is Conroe, Texas.

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The cities are listed according to their overall cost-of-living score, from least expensive to most expensive:

Conroe, Texas

  • Overall score: 94.9
  • Grocery score: 97.3
  • Health score: 95.6
  • Median home cost: $211,300

New Braunfels, Texas

  • Overall score: 100.3
  • Grocery score: 93.4
  • Health score: 96.1
  • Median home cost: $260,700

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Buckeye, Arizona

  • Overall score: 103.3
  • Grocery score: 96.8
  • Health score: 92.2
  • Median home cost: $225,200

Meridian, Idaho

  • Overall score: 107.4
  • Grocery score: 94
  • Health score: 91.1
  • Median home cost: $323,500

McKinney, Texas

  • Overall score: 107.9
  • Grocery score: 102
  • Health score: 96.4
  • Median home cost: $315,700

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Goodyear, Arizona

  • Overall score: 111.4
  • Grocery score: 98.3
  • Health score: 92.2
  • Median home cost: $291,400

Frisco, Texas

  • Overall score: 120
  • Grocery score: 104.4
  • Health score:  96.4
  • Median home cost: $404,500

South Jordan, Utah

  • Overall score: 128.7
  • Grocery score: 98.4
  • Health score: 101.1
  • Median home cost: $449,900

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Kent, Washington

  • Overall score: 130
  • Grocery score: 102
  • Health score: 85.2
  • Median home cost: $384,100

Irvine, California

  • Overall score: 187.1
  • Grocery score: 105.6
  • Health score: 95.9
  • Median home cost: $864,400

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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