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The southern and western regions of the United States continued to have the nation's fastest-growing cities between 2017 and 2018, according to new population estimates for cities and towns released Thursday.

New York still leads all American cities with 8.4 million residents.

But as NPR's Hansi Lo Wang reports, cities in Arizona, Texas, Washington and North Carolina top the list of rapidly growing municipalities.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A few weeks ago, fishermen off the coast of Norway encountered a beluga whale - not just any beluga. This one was wearing a harness. And stamped onto that harness were the words, equipment of St. Petersburg. That's prompted all kinds of questions, including whether the beluga was a Russian spy.

Saudi siblings Lina and Walid Alhathloul check their phones constantly for any mention of their sister on social media. They have already done four interviews on the day of the PEN awards and sit down for a fifth, because, they say, this is the only way to help their sister, 29-year-old jailed Saudi activist Loujain Alhathloul.

"We want to raise awareness," says Lina Alhathloul, a lawyer living in exile in Belgium.

Some music is so ingrained in our collective minds that it's easy to forget how game-changing it was. In the late 1960s, a marriage of rock and folk took place and much of the popular music from that union was being made in a single place — Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A few weeks ago, fishermen off the coast of Norway encountered a beluga whale - not just any beluga. This one was wearing a harness. And stamped onto that harness were the words, equipment of St. Petersburg. That's prompted all kinds of questions, including whether the beluga was a Russian spy.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A few weeks ago, fishermen off the coast of Norway encountered a beluga whale - not just any beluga. This one was wearing a harness. And stamped onto that harness were the words, equipment of St. Petersburg. That's prompted all kinds of questions, including whether the beluga was a Russian spy.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A few weeks ago, fishermen off the coast of Norway encountered a beluga whale - not just any beluga. This one was wearing a harness. And stamped onto that harness were the words, equipment of St. Petersburg. That's prompted all kinds of questions, including whether the beluga was a Russian spy.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A few weeks ago, fishermen off the coast of Norway encountered a beluga whale - not just any beluga. This one was wearing a harness. And stamped onto that harness were the words, equipment of St. Petersburg. That's prompted all kinds of questions, including whether the beluga was a Russian spy.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A few weeks ago, fishermen off the coast of Norway encountered a beluga whale - not just any beluga. This one was wearing a harness. And stamped onto that harness were the words, equipment of St. Petersburg. That's prompted all kinds of questions, including whether the beluga was a Russian spy.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A few weeks ago, fishermen off the coast of Norway encountered a beluga whale - not just any beluga. This one was wearing a harness. And stamped onto that harness were the words, equipment of St. Petersburg. That's prompted all kinds of questions, including whether the beluga was a Russian spy.

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