Just as the Austin City Limits Music Festival has grown from its inaugural year of 2002 to 2015, so too have Austin’s city limits.

In celebration of the ACL Music Festival, which is Oct. 2-4 and Oct. 9-11 this year, we decided to dive into the data and figure out just how much Austin’s city limits have grown during the festival’s 14 years of existence. The growth numbers supplied by Austin’s city demographer, Ryan Robinson, are pretty eye-opening.

From the year of ACL’s birth to this year, the land area of Austin has expanded 17.7 percent, or 48.5 square miles. That square mileage is equivalent to the size of the entire city of Fargo, ND.

ACL Music Festival

Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2014
ACL/Nick Simonite

The land area of Austin now measures 322.5 square miles, making it one of the physically biggest cities in the U.S. Back in 2002, Austin covered 274 square miles.

The expansion of Austin’s city limits is even more impressive from 2000 — two years before ACL launched — to 2015. According to Robinson’s data, the land area of Austin increased by 57 square miles during that period, or 21.7 percent. That jump in square mileage is equivalent to the size of the entire city of Daytona Beach, FL.

Addition by Annexation

“Land area expansions are, of course, the result of annexations, and our overall population growth owes about 35 percent of its growth to annexation,” Robinson says.

Will Austin keep expanding so dramatically by annexation? Maybe not, according to Robinson.

“My sense is that our overall annexation policy and philosophy may be changing. There seems to be a bit more pushback than what there was in the past,” he says.

Here are a few other ways we sliced and diced the historical spread of Austin’s city limits.

Austin City Limits Infographic

Infographic Embed Code:

2000 to 2010

Land area in 2000: 265.1 square miles
Land area in 2010: 307.5 square miles
Percentage increase in land area: 16%
Square miles added: 42.4
Addition equivalent to: Entire city of Eugene, OR

1990 to 2015

Land area in 1990: 226.3
Land area in 2015: 322.5
Percentage increase in land area: 42.5%
Square miles added: 96.2
Addition equivalent to: Entire city of Milwaukee, WI

1900 to 2015

Land area in 1900: 16.5
Land area in 2015: 322.5
Percentage increase in land area: 1,855%
Square miles added: 306
Addition equivalent to: Entire city of New York City, NY

Below is a year-by-year and decade-by-decade look at how Austin’s city limits have changed, along with the city’s population and population density. And to celebrate the ACL Music Festival, we’ve included photos of how Austin looked during each year of the fest.

Editor’s note: Population figures were provided by the City of Austin and may differ from figures available from the U.S. Census Bureau.

ACL Era

2015

Austin skyline 2015

Flickr/mrlaugh

Land area: 322.5 square miles
Population: 900,701
People per square mile: 2,793

2014

Austin 2014

Flickr/Dave Wilson

Land area: 318.5 square miles
Population: 878,733
People per square mile: 2,759

2013

Austin 2013

Flickr/Larry Miller

Land area: 309.8 square miles
Population: 855,215
People per square mile: 2,485

2012

Austin 2012 skyline

Flickr/Marcus Calderon

Land area: 308.1 square miles
Population: 832,326
People per square mile: 2,701

2011

Austin 2011 skyline

Flickr/vibrantswr

Land area: 307.8 square miles
Population: 812,025
People per square mile: 2,638

2010

Austin 2010

Flickr/Stephalee

Land area: 307.5 square miles
Population: 790,390
People per square mile: 2,570

2009

Austin 2009

Flickr/Michael Calderon

Land area: 301.8 square miles
Population: 774,037
People per square mile: 2,564

2008

Austin 2008

Flickr/Adriano Aurelio Araujo

Land area: 299.9 square miles
Population: 750,525
People per square mile: 2,503

2007

Austin 2007

Flickr/Clay Leben

Land area: 297.6 square miles
Population: 735,088
People per square mile: 2,470

2006

Austin 2006

Flickr/Brian Birzer

Land area: 295.7 square miles
Population: 718,912
People per square mile: 2,431

2005

Austin 2005

Flickr/Steve Santore

Land area: 294.2 square miles
Population: 700,407
People per square mile: 2,381

2004

Austin 2004

Flickr/Evan Bench

Land area: 290.9 square miles
Population: 692,102
People per square mile: 2,379

2003

Austin 2003

Flickr/bombay2austin

Land area: 278.6 square miles
Population: 687,708
People per square mile: 2,468

2002

Austin 2002

Flickr/Antoine

Land area: 274 square miles
Population: 680,899
People per square mile: 2,485

Pre-ACL Era

2000

Austin skyline 2000

City-Data.com

Land area: 265.1 square miles
Population: 656,562
People per square mile: 2,477

1990

Austin skyline 1990

Phantom Productions

Land area: 226.3 square miles
Population: 465,622
People per square mile: 2,058

1980

Loop 360 construction 1980

Construction of Loop 360
TexasFreeway.com

Land area: 128.9 square miles
Population: 345,890
People per square mile: 2,683

1970

austin 1970

Robert Miller/TexasFreeway.com

Land area: 81.4 square miles
Population: 251,808
People per square mile: 3,094

1960

Austin 1960

Gregg Klar

Land area: 55.8 square miles
Population: 186,545
People per square mile: 3,343

1950

Austin 1950

University of North Texas Libraries

Land area: 37.9 square miles
Population: 132,459
People per square mile: 3,498

1940

Austin map 1940

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Land area: 30.9 square miles
Population: 87,930
People per square mile: 2,850

1930

Austin 1930 map

University of Texas Libraries

Land area: 20.4 square miles
Population: 53,120
People per square mile: 2,603

1920

Austin 1920 map

University of Texas Libraries

Land area: 16.5 square miles
Population: 34,876
People per square mile: 2,114

1910

Austin 1910

University of Texas Libraries

Land area: 16.5 square miles
Population: 29,860
People per square mile: 1,810

1900

Austin map 1900

University of Texas Libraries

Land area: 16.5 square miles
Population: 22,258
People per square mile: 1,349

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