|Photo by Rusty Costanza, Getty Images|
Immigration, despite the tortured national debate emanating from Washington, has always been about people seeking better opportunities. Within U.S. borders, Americans are also in search of a better life, one they may find across state lines. Bloomberg Rankings sorted through U.S. Census data for metropolitan areas to rank those with the greatest population growth, then scored areas on growth in gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation. Combine the two scores and winnow the list to regions with more than 1 million residents, and you have American’s fastest-growing cities.
2. New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, Louisiana
2007 Population: 1,030,363
2011 Population: 1,191,089
Percent Change: 15.60
GDP Compound Annual Growth: 2%
Reporter Geraldo Rivera sparked controversy recently by referring to everything outside New Orleans’s French Quarter as a “vast urban wasteland.” The area is growing as it rebuilds from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Tourism is booming, and the New Orleans area gained more residents than any other in the U.S. from 2007 to 2011. The population rose to 1.2 million in 2012, and there’s plenty of job growth in heavy construction and even the television and motion picture industry, according to New Orleans demographer Allison Plyer. The unemployment rate, at 5.9 percent, is below the national average. One worry: Governor Bobby Jindal’s tax plan could change the state’s motion picture investor tax credit, reducing a key incentive to film in Louisiana.