CHICAGO — After experiencing losses through the first decade of the new century, Chicago's population added about 9,600 people between 2011 and 2012, the Census says.
Chicago's population for 2012 was 2,714,856.
Chicago remains the third largest city in the U.S., after New York (8.3 million) and Los Angeles (3.8 million), the Census said.
The new figures represent the second year in a row that the city saw a population increase: it grew by about 11,500 between 2010 and 2011.
Between 2000 and 2010, the city saw 200,000 people flee. Its peak was in 1950, when Chicago counted 3.6 million residents.
Chicago's growth of less than 1 percent last year lagged behind most major cities, Census figures show. New York grew by 67,058 people between July 2011 and July 2012.
"Eight of the 15 fastest-growing large U.S. cities and towns for the year ending July 1, 2012, were in Texas," the Census reported. Houston, with 2.1 million residents, grew by 34,625 people, good for fourth place on the national list.
With most of the nation's largest cities showing increases, some experts are heralding an urban youth movement.
Kenneth M. Johnson, senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute, told USA Today he's not so sure.
"It's going to take a little bit more than a couple of years of growth for the cities to convince me that there's some generational change going on," he said. "Maybe this generation is more attracted to the cities than the last two or three generations have been. I think it's too early to tell."