NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- America's cities are averaging more than 10% growth, but some of its coolest towns just aren't getting the love.
According to the 2010 Census, U.S. metro areas on the whole grew by 10.8% from 2000 to 2010. That was great news for pre-housing-crisis Las Vegas, which grew 41.8% last decade, and for Texas towns including Dallas, Houston and Austin, which saw their populations swell 23%, 26% and 37% respectively. That comes as little relief to Detroit, however, which shrank by 25% during the same span.
The overall growth masks an unfortunate truth for American cities well beyond Detroit, however. Fourteen of the 15 biggest cities in 2000 lost population or slowed their growth by 2010, according to Census data. Philadelphia was the only standout, boosting its ranks 0.6% after posting declines for the past 50 years.
Several of the cities that saw their populations dwindle since 2000 are in much the same position as Philadelphia a decade ago: Struggling with the demise of manufacturing, watching its residents flee to the suburbs, failing to draw younger residents to replace them and trying to show what was good about their city to a broader audience. Part of Philadelphia's growth comes from drawing people who appreciated the city's culture, art, nightlife and affordability compared with Northeast Corridor neighbors such as New York and Washington, D.C., and it's a big part of the reason Philadelphia's median age dropped from 36.5 in 2000 to 34.2 in 2010. Combine that with a GDP that jumped from $309 billion in 2006 to $335 billion last year without any recession slump, and you've got the blueprint for a cool city's comeback.TheStreet thumbed through the 2010 Census numbers and found five cities that are a lot more fun and vibrant than their declining numbers suggest: