Austin is projected to hit a major population milestone in 2017. According to Buffalo Business First, on March 20, the population will hit 2.1 million. Austin isn’t the only one- there are 25 of the nation’s major metropolitan areas that are also expected to reach population milestones this year. A milestone is defined as a round figure ending with 5 zeros. Dallas-Fort Worth was the first major metropolitan area to hit a milestone, reaching a population of 7.3 million earlier this month. The data is gathered by Business First using their computer formula spanning 15 years of demographic data to estimate the population of any community at any given time. This date is comprised of 108 major metropolitan areas with more than 500,000 residents. Austin tops the list of projected gains this year with an estimated increase in population of 2.8 percent, followed by Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida with an increase of 2.5 percent and Raleigh, North Carolina with an increase of 2.3 percent. Austin proper isn’t the only area expecting significant growth. Austin-Round Rock is expected to have the fastest growth rate in the nation among major metros by reaching nearly 4 million by 2040! Other Texas projections include Dallas-Fort Worth which reached 7.3 million earlier this month (and another projection of 7.4 million by mid-October), and Houston is expected to hit 6.9 million mid-March (and another projection of 7 million mid-November). There are 23 additional metropolitan areas expected to each reach milestones, including Tulsa and Fresno each projected to reach populations of 1 million, which would make them the 55th and 56th United States metros to reach the seven-figure threshold. Nationwide, there are 98 projected increases in 2017 out of the 108 major metropolitan areas surveyed. Of those that did not make the list, Youngstown, Ohio is anticipating the largest decline in population at 0.6 percent.