Atlanta moves to 9th largest US Metro area

Atlanta's reputation as a booming metropolis is confirmed by new census figures that show the city and its suburbs breaking into the top 10 U.S. metro areas by population.

As of 2009, Atlanta was ranked ninth in the nation, based on new population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The metropolitan statistical area reached 5,475,213 people, an increase of  1,227,192 from 2000 when Atlanta was ranked 11th.

Atlanta actually dropped a notch from 2008 when it was the eighth largest metro area, but that wasn't due to population decline. The area gained 89,627 people but was outpaced by growth in and around Washington D.C.

The top three cities -- New York, Los Angeles and Chicago -- retained their places with less dramatic growth. New York added 746,357 people over the decade and now has 19,069,796 residents.

The only top 10 city to lose population was Detroit, which lost 49,121 people over the decade, nearly half of them from 2008 to 2009. Detroit was bumped from ninth place in 2000 to 11th in 2008, where it remained last year.

The Census Bureau defines a metropolitan statistical area as core urban counties and any adjacent counties with social and economic ties indicated by heavy commuting.

The bureau based its new figures, which were released this month, on estimates using birth and death registries, federal tax returns, military and Medicare files and other administrative records that indicate domestic and international migration.

To see the numbers, visit the Census Bureau Web site at