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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Just shy of Birmingham, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates show Huntsville may take the lead for the most populated Alabama city in 2021. A big jump from being the smallest of the four major cities just 10 years ago.

According to, Vintage Population Estimates from the Census show Huntsville added around 23,000 people between 2010 and 2020. During that time, Birmingham lost more than 5,000 people. Huntsville was also the only city of the four metropolitan areas to add people.

From 2019 to 2020 alone, Birmingham lost nearly 2,000 people while Huntsville gained nearly 3,000.

Birmingham has been the biggest Alabama city for decades, but if this trend continues, Huntsville is on track to be number one. It passed Mobile in 2016 and Montgomery in 2019.

While Huntsville is growing, other major Alabama cities are seeing a decrease. One reason could be that people are deciding to move out to the surrounding, smaller areas.

The city of Madison, right outside of Huntsville, added nearly 10,000 people since 2010. That’s a growth rate of 22.6% and makes it the 10th fastest growing city in Alabama over that time.

Just over the county line, Athens city in Limestone County has grown by more than 30% since 2010. Limestone County also made the list as the fastest growing county in Alabama.

2020 Census numbers will be released later this year, and some major corrections are expected in Alabama.

Earlier this year the Census released state population totals – the first official batch of numbers from the count. In that count, Alabama had more than 100,000 people than expected, and it’s not sure where those extra people may be.

For more population data and information on the U.S. Census, visit their website here.