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D.C. region's urban areas fastest growing in Northeast

Tuesday - 3/27/2012, 7:55am  ET

WASHINGTON - The Washington area's urban population is growing faster than any other major metropolitan area in the Northeast, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which show double-digit growth over the past decade.

The region's urban population rose to almost 4.6 million from 2000 to 2010, an increase of 16.6 percent. Only one other area in the Northeast's top 10 experienced urban growth in the single digits. Allentown, Pa. was second, with 15.3 percent growth.

Baltimore's urban population rose 6.1 percent, to 2.2 million, over the past decade.

Much of the growth in the Washington area has been fueled by job creation and young professionals attracted to the region.

William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, tells The Examiner the growth has created suburbs that have essentially become urban areas and that the trend will likely continue over the next decade.

The Census Bureau's urban areas represent densely developed territory, and encompass residential, commercial, and other non-residential urban land uses.

A recent WTOP Beltway Poll found that most D.C. area residents are pro-growth and believe growth increases home values. Close to two-thirds surveyed believe growth in the region, if done properly, has benefits and advantages, and should be encouraged and fostered.

Nationwide, Charlotte, N.C., experienced the greatest urban growth, rising more than 63 percent over the past decade. It was followed by Austin, Texas and Las Vegas.

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WTOP's Mitchell Miller contributed to this report. Follow Mitchell and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)