BELL COUNTY, Texas — The U.S. Census showing several cities in Bell County saw major growth over the past 10 years and more diversity in the city. I spoke with local city and community leaders, about what this means for their community.
More people are calling Texas home now, according to the recently released U.S. Census. 95% of the population growth in Texas was people of color.
“The cost-of-living is not that expensive, so it gives our community opportunity to breathe," said Ron Jupiter, Killeen branch of the NAACP. "We can use this as a moment to not only to move to Texas but to participate in the economic growth of the country as well.”
Jupiter said more people of color are finding better opportunities to raise families, get jobs and start businesses in Central Texas, especially Killeen.
“The potential is there, the population is there, the professionalism is there," Jupiter said. "Killeen is an exciting place to be at this time.”
Killeen saw a 16.4 percent population growth over the past decade. Its population rose from nearly 128,000 to more than 153,000.
Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra said the city is hoping to keep improving.
“If that sustained itself, in the next census we’ll be at 175,000 or 180,000,” said Segarra.
Many who retire from the military at Fort Hood end up staying in the community, Segarra said. Smaller cities in Bell County are seeing big changes. Nolanville’s population grew 30 percent, the largest jump in Bell County.
Nolanville Mayor Andy Williams said they have added several innovative measures to improve services in the city.
“We’ve been preparing for growth so we can offer services and opportunities as more people begin to move to the city of Nolanville,” Williams said.
Local cities are also making plans to add more police, firefighters, and more city staff to their workforce to help provide services to the growing population.
Belton and Temple also experienced 24 percent growth. Other counties like Coryell and Lampasas are also seeing a spike in their population.