U.S. Fastest Growing Counties

30 05 2005

The 10 fastest growing counties in the United States by percent change from 2003 to 2004, according to the U.S. Census Bureau:

1) Flagler County, Fla., 10.1%
2) Kendall County, Ill., 8.3%
3) Loudoun County, Va., 8.1%
4) Hanson County, S.D., 7.9%
5) Lincoln County, S.D., 7.5%
6) Lampasas County, Texas, 7.3%
7) Lyon County, Nev., 7.2%
8) Camden County, N.C., 7.2%
9) St. Johns County, Fla., 6.7%
10) Dallas County, Iowa, 6.6%

Flagler County, Florida is the fastest-growing county in the United States, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. Its population grew by 10.1 percent from July 1, 2003, to July 1, 2004, adding 6,309 residents – the biggest percentage change in the country.

Kendall County, Ill., near Chicago, was second with an 8.3 percent increase.

The county with the highest numerical increase was Maricopa County, Ariz., which added 112,000 residents.

Situated between spring break capital Daytona Beach and the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, Flagler County’s population was 69,005 on July 1, 2004. That’s more than double the 2000 population of 32,732, according to the Census.

The county’s laid-back lifestyle, weather and golf courses have made it a Mecca for sun-starved retirees from the North.

While county officials are gleeful about the ranking and believe it will bring more businesses and industry to the area, local citizens are more circumspect about the downside of growth: traffic, urban sprawl, inadequate number of good jobs and a school system bursting at the seams.

Stephen Marro, executive director of Enterprise Flagler, a public-private economic development group, doesn’t see any slowing of the boom, noting that the labor force has increased from 18,000 to 27,000 in the past 18 months.

Huge projects are on the horizon, including a $230 million golf course and resort, gated housing projects, condominiums and a new shopping mall. An elementary school and high school are being built and will open at full capacity.

Florida led all states with 14 counties among the nation’s 100 fastest growing, according to the Census Bureau.

Other fast-growing counties were in the South or West. Loudoun, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., ranked third in growth with rate of 8.1 percent. Two South Dakota counties, Hanson and Lincoln near Sioux Falls, were fourth and fifth fastest growing at 7.9 and 7.5 percent respectively, the Census Bureau reported.

Los Angles was again the most populous county with 9.9 million residents.

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