CULTUREMAP -The Austin metro area is now home to nearly 2.2 million people — about 100,000 more than the region had just 18 months ago — and the suburbs are propelling much of that growth.

When will the Austin area actually pass the 2.2 million mark? Ryan Robinson, the City of Austin’s demographer, predicts that’ll happen sometime around this October.

New estimates from Robinson indicate the region had 2,156,168 residents as of January 1, 2018. That’s up 4.9 percent from 2,056,405 on July 1, 2016, as estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to Robinson’s estimates, the city of Austin had 963,116 residents as of January 1, 2018, compared with 947,890 as of July 1, 2016. That’s an 18-month rise of 1.6 percent.

The 1.6 percent population increase for the city of Austin, compared with the region’s overall growth rate of 4.9 percent, suggests the suburbs — where homes and apartments are cheaper — continue to be a magnet for residents. In recent years, the growth rate of suburbs like Cedar Park and Georgetown has outpaced the growth rate of Austin.

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