HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that Huntsville's population is steadily growing. Huntsville beat out Mobile this year, which officially makes it the third largest city in Alabama.
And experts predict we're just years away from becoming Alabama's most populated city.
"This is a great thing. This is a sign that we're growing and that we're growing at a responsible level. We're adding about 2,000 jobs a year on average, which is a very sustainable growth pattern. and we're very well prepared as a community to support that growth," said Lucia Cape of Huntsville Economic Development.
The Chamber of Commerce says population growth and economic development go hand in hand.
"We assist existing companies with adding new jobs, which attracts people to the community, and we recruit new companies, which sometimes will bring their existing workforce here, which adds to our population," said Cape.
The Huntsville-Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau says 2016 was a banner year. It boasted the highest economic impact year ever for travel to the area. There were well over 3 million visitors, more than 15,000 jobs added in Madison County alone, and more than $1 billion pumped into the economy.
Outside companies see that and decide they want to come to Huntsville too.
"The population that we're able to show and the growth that we're able to show is really enticing to companies when they're expanding here or when they're looking to locate here because they know that they'll have that workforce going forward, and when you're growing, it's a sign that there are good things going on and people want to be a part of that," Cape said.
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