The Rocket City’s population grew from 180,105 in April 2010 to 186,254, as of July 2013, a more than 3 percent increase.
Huntsville has a diverse economy driven by engineering, defense, aerospace, technology and biotech and it attracts newcomers. The U.S. Army and NASA have a strong local presence and Huntsville’s tradition of innovation has long been spurred by government contractors who branched out to start their own companies.
Huntsville is also routinely recognized by national publications as a desirable place to live, work and start a business.
Mayor Tommy Battle isn’t surprised by the city’s growth pattern.
“People realize that Huntsville is a great place to live, work, learn and play,” Battle said. “We see employers wanting to locate and expand here, more young professionals moving into our area, and a wonderful community that is open and welcoming to newcomers.”
The population growth here compares favorably with Alabama’s other largest cities, the Census figures show.
Birmingham saw its population rise by 672 people from 2012 to 2013, but its overall population fell slightly from 2010 to 2013, from 212,237 to 212,113. Mobile saw its population also fall slightly over the past three years, from 195,111 to 194,899. The population count showed a slight uptick for Mobile in 2013, up 11 people from 2012.
Montgomery finds itself moving in the opposite direction. The state’s capital saw its population decline 2 percent over the past three years, from 205,764 to 201,332. Montgomery’s population declined by more than 3,000 people in 2013, according to the Census figures.
Madison saw strong growth over the past three years, with a nearly 7 percent gain, from 42,938 in 2010 to 45,799 in 2013. The city grew by just over 800 people in 2013, figures show.
Athens also saw strong growth, up nearly 10 percent in the past three years, from a population of 21,897 to 24,000. Athens added about 500 people in 2013. Decatur’s population grew slightly from 2010 to 2013, falling from 55,683 to 55,816. Decatur’s population fell by 185 residents in 2013, the figures show.