The fastest-growing U.S. counties during the 2000s
The fastest-growing county in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is Kendall County, Ill. -- a suburb of Chicago. Kendall Country grew nearly 100 percent in the last nine years, from a population of 54,563 on April 1, 2000 to 104,821 on July 1.
The county has been transitioning from an agricultural area to a bedroom community -- albeit one far from the main job center. "It's a wonderful place to live with excellent schools and a very low crime rate," said Anne Vickery, a member of the Kendall County Board. "But you're going to have to travel to get to Chicago."
The county is 60% devoted to agriculture and Caterpillar is its biggest employer. Though Kendall County is the fastest-growing in the U.S., since the nation's economy has gone south, its population growth has slowed and its job losses have piled up.
Most of the fastest growing counties are, like Kendall, relatively distant from the city centers of major metropolitan areas. These are areas where many workers were willing to move because they offered big new homes on large lots for comparatively reasonable prices.
The second fastest grower, for example, Pinal County, Ariz., where the population grew 90% between April 1, 2000, and July 1, 2009, lies about 40 miles south of Phoenix.
The third fastest grower during the 2000s, Rockwall, Texas (89%), is an outer-ring Dallas suburb. Loudon County, Va. (78%), is well outside Washington D.C.'s beltway. Flagler County, Fla., (84%) is about 60 miles away from the nearest major metro area, Jacksonville.
Other fast growers include Forsyth County and Paulding County, both in Georgia; Lincoln County, S.D.; Williamson County, Texas; and Douglas County Colo.
The increased population should help some of these counties once the census count is over - it could help them receive more government money.