The U.S. Census Bureau announced March 24 that Conroe topped the list of the fastest growing cities in the nation.

Of the top 15 fastest growing cities, 10 are in the South, and six of those are in the state of Texas, according to the bureau. The city of Conroe population grew from 76,362 residents in July 2015 to 82,286 residents in July 2016. That is a jump of 5,924 residents.

Representing a 7.8 percent growth in population, Conroe outpaces other top cities that have a population of more than 50,000 residents—such as Frisco and McKinney, which came in second and third with growth of 6.2 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively, according to the bureau.

Conroe Mayor Toby Powell said he is surprised Conroe made the list as No. 1, but he expected to be in the top 10 fastest growing cities in the nation.

“It is unbelievable,” Powell said. “It means so much for the area. It is a goal to be the best of the best. We are doing something right. It is all about quality of life for the citizens. We are a small town, but we have a big heart.”

He said the rise of population can be attributed to job creation in the city and the surrounding area by employers, such as those at the Conroe Park North Industrial Park in Conroe and the ExxonMobil campus in Spring, as well as the numerous developers building new homes in the city to accommodate those employees.

“I attribute it to the vision that these large development groups like Johnson Development Corp. and the Howard Hughes Corp. have,” Powell said. “They see the vision that we have. We have ExxonMobil at our front door. We are reaping the harvest from the growth from people that work there and want to live in a large town with a small-town atmosphere. That is what we are.”

The city expects population growth to continue in the next few years and projects it will reach a population of 100,000 residents by the year 2020, Powell said.

“I think we will be there before that,” he said. “That is three years from now and Johnson Development already has about 150 houses on the ground [at Grand Central Park]. We also have large companies coming in to the [Conroe Park North] Industrial Park. They have higher paying jobs there. It is a wonderful time to live in Conroe.”