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Counties with the largest numeric growth are all located in the south and the west, with counties in Texas taking four out of the top 10 spots according to new U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released Thursday.

By metropolitan area, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas, had the largest numeric growth with a gain of 131,767 (1.8%) in 2018, followed by Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona with an increase of 96,268 (2%). Migration, both domestic and international, as well as natural increase contributed to the growth in each of these areas, with natural increase serving as the largest source of population growth in Dallas and domestic migration serving as the largest source in Phoenix.

“One interesting trend we are seeing this year is that metro areas not among the most populous are ranked in the top 10 for population growth,” said Sandra Johnson, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s Population Division. “Though no new metro areas moved into the top 10 largest areas, Phoenix, Seattle, Austin and Orlando all experienced numeric increases in population since 2010, rivaling growth in areas with much larger populations. This trend is consistent with the overall growth we are seeing in the south and the west.”

Among counties with a population of 20,000 or more, Williams County, North Dakota, was the fastest growing county by percentage, increasing by 5.9% between 2017 and 2018 (from 33,395 to 35,350). The rapid growth Williams County experienced was due mainly to net domestic migration (1,471) in 2018. The county also grew between 2017 and 2018 by natural increase (427) and international migration (52).

Of the other nine fastest-growing counties, all experienced positive domestic migration. All but Brunswick, North Carolina, and Hood, Texas, experienced growth through natural increase (having more births than deaths), and only Brunswick had negative net international migration.

The statistics released today provide population estimates, rankings and components of change for the nation’s 390 metropolitan statistical areas, 555 micropolitan statistical areas and 3,142 counties, as well as population estimates and rankings for Puerto Rico’s 78 municipios.

For more information, visit www.census.gov and click the article entitled “New Census Bureau Estimates Show Counties in South and West Lead Nation in Population Growth.”

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