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Greenville ranks in top five fastest growing cities in nation

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GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - Greenville is the fourth fastest growing city in the country, according to a recently-released study. That's no small feat, since just last year, the nation as a whole experienced its lowest population gain since the Great Depression.

Where Greenville once was a city with a small university and a small hospital, the city has now blossomed into the center of eastern carolina's scholarly and medical environments, and that growth is being nationally recognized. Greenville, North Carolina, a city transformed.

"Greenville is one of those places that in 1970 was about 30,000 people, it was a small town, and it has grown substantially over the last 30 years. it has seen a phenomenal amount of growth," said Bianca Shoneman, Executive Director for Uptown Greenville.

The city is now topping 90,000 people, and that growth is being recognized nationally by a personal finance group called Wallet Hub.

The study uses data from national sources, like the Census Bureau, to come up with the rankings.

"We found that job opportunities are important when looking at what cities are and are not growing, but so are reasonable housing options, so if you can put the two together, those are going to be the cities that grow the quickest, and that's exactly what Greenville's doing," said Wallet Hub Spokesperson Jill Gonzalez.

The city's job availability and workforce increased over the last several years, much of that thanks to the growing medical community.

"This organization has 909 beds and will grow again as we add our cancer tower and we continue to build out the future state of the organization," said Vidant Medical Center's Incoming President Brian Floyd.

Shoneman traces the growth she's seen back to 2004 when the city received a grant for $5 million to improve on the downtown area.

Since then, the Uptown District is seeing an outpouring of growth, bringing in new businesses.

Brock Letchworth with Pitt County Schools says their enrollment has steadily grown over the last decade, adding 300 kids in the last year alone.

Sometimes fast-paced growth can cause growing pains if you're not ready for the change, but that's something this city's leaders aren't worried about.

"This effort is a long standing goal, it is a long-term vision for our municipality to urbanize, and it's consistent with the trend of the rest of the nation," said Shoneman.

"All the trends and all the information we see say people trust us more than ever more people are coming here than ever and so we believe we will be here for the long term we believe we will be stronger. there will be continued growth," said Floyd.

Greenville has also seen a 6.2% drop in unemployment, something experts says is quite impressive when comparing it to other cities nationwide.

The three cities the study says are growing at an even faster pace than Greenville are Mission, Texas, Irving, Texas, and North Charleston, South Carolina.

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