The Way Back: Austin’s Changing Skyline

The Way Back: Austin's Changing Skyline


The hottest topic in town—one practically impossible to avoid at a cocktail party—is how fast Austin has grown in the past decade. The hometown of the Longhorns has been identified as the fastest-growing city in America, and City of Austin demographer Ryan Robinson estimates that Austin gains 110 new residents every day.

In 2013, the city’s population hit 842,750, and demographers project it will reach 1 million between 2020-25. (The greater Austin area is already approaching 2 million.

With the possible exception of gridlocked roads, nowhere is this growth more visible than in the skyline. While the Capitol remains a prominent feature, it’s been dwarfed by high-rises and construction cranes popping up over the horizon. Condos and hotels with retail space, bars, and restaurants on their bottom levels have transformed areas like the Warehouse District, the newly dubbed Second Street District, and Congress Avenue. Downtown is no longer a ghost town at night; many new residents actually live there.

Check out a video segment detailing Austin’s evolving skyline.


Counterclockwise from top: 1936, when Austin’s population was about 60,000; 1980s, when Austin’s population grew from 345,890 to 466,499; 2014, Austin’s population is projected to grow 2.7 percent to 865,504 by the end of the year.

Top: PICA 17892, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library

Bottom left: PICA 36744, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library

Bottom right: Anna Donlan


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