Texas cities saw some of the fastest population gains among U.S. cities last year, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau, a statistic that experts chalk up to a stable economy amid a national recession.

Four of the top 10 cities with the greatest percentage increase in population were in Texas: Frisco, McKinney, Round Rock and Lewisville.

Round Rock was No. 8 on the list, with a 3.4 percent increase.

The population growth was tabulated from July 1, 2008, to July 1, 2009.

Frisco, a wealthy suburb of Dallas, saw a 6,2 percent population spike, making it the fastest growing city in the U.S. McKinney was No. 3, and Lewisville was No. 10.

By raw numbers, Austin was ninth on the list of cities with populations of more than 100,000 that saw the largest numerical increases last year, with a rise of 19,183 residents, according to.the Census Bureau.

Four other Texas cities made that top 10 list: San Antonio at No. 3, Fort Worth at No. 5, Dallas at No. 7 and Houston at No. 8.

The Census Bureau reported that New York City had the nation’s largest increase in overall. population numbers, going from 8.34 million to
8.39 million.

Steve Murdock, a former director of the Census Bureau and now a professor at Rice University, said Texas’ growth was probably because of the state’s ability to dodge the worst of the economic crisis, as well as its growing immigrant population.

“Diversity and growth go together, and Texas has one of the most diverse populations in the “country,” Murdock said.

Daniel Hamermesh, a University of Texas professor who specializes in demographic changes, called the population spike a “good thing for Texas,” echoing Murdock’s sentiments that the state’s growth is due to its relatively stable economy while the rest of the U.S. slowly emerges from the worst economic slump since the Great Depression of 1930s.

“People want to move here,” Hamermesh said. “The economy is doing better than anybody else’s, and there is a long-term trend to move toward the South and Southwest.”

The state is also scheduled to receive more representation in Congress because of the population increase, probably gaining three or four seats during the redistricting process in 2011.
“Steady growth will make Texas cities the big winners when the 2010 census comes out next year,” said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.