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Conroe is basking in the national spotlight of being recognized as the fastest-growing U.S. city with a population of at least 50,000.
Figures released from the U.S. Census Bureau Thursday show that Conroe's population expanded to 82,286 in 2016 -- a 7.8 percent increase over 2015.
With all those extra people moving in, the bureau puts Conroe's growth rate at more than 11 times that of the rest of the other cities across the nation that have a population of at least 50,000.
"Quality of life is what brings people to Conroe," Mayor Toby Powell said in announcing the news during the opening of Thursday's City Council meeting. "People want to live here."
Conroe's population spurt continues a trend of strong growth for the city, spurred in part as companies also move in, opening and expanding their businesses here.
"We are growing. We are not, pardon the term, a podunk town anymore," said Harold "Hutch" Hutcheson, manager of the Conroe Convention and Visitors Bureau, as he addressed the mayor and City Council.
Helping to drive Conroe's growth is the number of new businesses that have opened or expanded recently in the city, drawing people both to live in Conroe, or at least drive into the city to work, and hopefully spend some of their earnings.
Sales tax figures show revenues collected have expanded from $27.8 million in 2010 to $41.5 million in 2016, while, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, the city's labor force has grown to 33,323. That's up from its 2010 level of 27,866. Figures show family housing starts are also on the rise, with city numbers showing 618 housing starts last year compared with 220 in 2010.
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