Meridian likely to be fastest-growing city in U.S.

Teya Vitu//April 11, 2018

Meridian likely to be fastest-growing city in U.S.

Teya Vitu//April 11, 2018

Meridian community pool, July 2017, Photo Patrick Sweeney
Meridian community pool is a busy place in July. COMPASS expects the city to grow 8.25 percent this year. File photo

Based on initial local population estimates, Meridian could rank as the No. 1 fastest growing city in the country once the U.S. Census Bureau releases its city populations estimates on May 24.

Meridian’s population grew 8.25 percent in the past year, adding 8,100 residents to reach 106,410 in 2018, according to the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho.

The nation’s fastest-growing cities the past two years grew at 7.8 percent, according to the Census Bureau, which has ranked Meridian within the top 15 fastest-growing cities several times in the past decade or so.

Meridian is only the second Idaho city to hit the century mark after Boise.

COMPASS is the first official entity to acknowledge Meridian passing 100,000.The last Census estimate for Meridian was 95,623 in July 2016.

The Idaho Business Review in July estimated that Meridian had reached 100,000 residents.

The COMPASS board of directors on April 16 is expected to approve COMPASS’s annual population estimates for the Treasure Valley cities.

“Reaching this milestone is a testament to the efforts of our city employees and our key partners at ACHD and West Ada School District,” Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd said.

Meridian and Nampa were neck-and-neck for the last decade or so to reach 100,000, but Nampa came up short at 98,370 for 2018.

“As a city, we’re working diligently to prepare for the growth that’s coming,” Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling said.

“I would guess Nampa goes over 100,000 next year,” said Carl Miller, COMPASS’s principal planner and population guru.

Miller estimates Meridian hit the 100,000 milestone on March 17, 2017.

Milestone populations were reached across the Treasure Valley’s smaller city as well. Kuna topped 20,000, Star, which only incorporated in 1997, reached 10,000, Middleton just fell short of 10,000 and Eagle is at 29,910.

Kuna Mayor Joe Stear recalls arrive in a Kuna with barely more than 500 people in 1965. Even in 2000, the Census counted only 5,382 people in Kuna.

“I think it’s probably very good for our strategy to get more commercial growth here and more new jobs,” Stear said. “We’re keeping up with our infrastructure. We should be have to hand growth for 10 years with waste water.”

By 10 years from now, Kuna could be at 30,000.

COMPASS counts Boise at 232,300 and Ada and Canyon counties combined at 688,110. Miller believes the two counties will pass 700,000 next year.