This City Becomes the Second Largest City in Central Arkansas
The annual demographic and review outlook from Metroplan, the federally designated metropolitan planning group for central Arkansas, came out last month. It showed that Conway has passed North Little Rock to become the second largest city in central Arkansas. When the 2020 census was over, 64,134 people lived in Conway, making it the third largest city in the area. There were 64,591 in North Little Rock.
Metroplan’s new study shows that over the past three years, Conway has grown bigger than North Little Rock, becoming the second largest city in the area after the state capital. In 2023, 67,509 people lived in Conway, while 65,840 lived in North Little Rock.
Bart Castleberry, mayor of Conway, told the Log Cabin Democrat on Thursday, “I’m excited to see Conway as the second largest city in central Arkansas. I’m not completely surprised.”
The mayor said that the Conway school system, the city’s healthcare providers, the Conway Corporation, and the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce were all important to the city’s growth and achievement.
The mayor said, “They all work really well together to bring businesses to our city and make Conway a great place to live, work, and play.” Castleberry also said that the city’s investments in certain parts of Conway are another reason why the city is growing so quickly.
He said, “Yes, we’re putting money into new amenities like the Conway Soccer Complex, the Conway Community Center, and the Connect Conway greenway trail. But people also love seeing that we’re putting money back into the transportation and recreation infrastructure in the older parts of our city.” When it opens in the fall, the Conway Soccer Complex will have ten lighted fields, bathrooms, office space, trails, and a concessions house.
The Community Center should open around May 2025. It will have an indoor and outdoor pool, concessions, volleyball and pickleball courts, an exercise center, two to four party rooms, two multipurpose rooms, offices for Parks and Recreation, and a community lounge. The city has spent $25 million on 15 miles of Greenway trails that link different parts of the city.
Castleberry also says that companies in Conway have helped the city grow. It was said that many of the companies and industries that are already here are growing instead of closing down and moving away.
The population of Conway has grown by 5.3% in the last three years, while the population of Vilonia has grown by 6%, making it the city in Faulkner County with the most population growth so far this decade. From 2020 to 2021, the populations of all towns in Faulkner County grew. Greenbrier’s population grew by 5%, Mayflower’s by 4.4%, and Wooster’s by 0.8%.
The population of Faulkner County as a whole has grown by 4%, which is more than any other county in the area. Lonoke County has grown by 1.9%, Pulaski County has grown by 1.6%, and Saline County has grown by 3.2%.
Since 1990, Faulkner County has grown to become the second largest county in the region, passing Saline County. It used to be tied with Saline County for second place, with about 12 percent of the region’s people living in each. Today, about 18% of the people living in central Arkansas live in Faulkner County and about 17% live in Saline County. The mayor said, “At the end of the day, the people of Conway make it great.” “Everyone loves Conway and wants the best for her.”