Far Out! Fastest-Growing Counties In U.S. Are Exurban

Despite years of efforts on the part of planners and governments to promote "smart growth", census data shows that the fastest-growing counties in the U.S. are "suburban, rural or a mixture of both."

"Rural America has been adding population for about 30 years, after losing residents for much of the first half of the 20th Century, according to a study released Wednesday by the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. Much of those gains have been on the 'fringes of metropolitan areas,' the study said.

Los Angeles remains the nation's largest county, with 9.9 million people. Maricopa County, Ariz., home to Phoenix and Scottsdale, added the most people, 137,000, for the year ending in July 2005.

Flagler County in Florida has grown by 53 percent since 2000, a faster rate than any other county this decade. It had 76,410 residents in July 2005, and probably more by now.

That growth means road projects, new government buildings and skyrocketing school enrollment, said Carl Laundrie, a county administration spokesman.

'There isn't a county in the world that's prepared for 10 percent growth' a year, Laundrie said. 'We are on track to build a school a year for the next 10 years.'"

Thanks to Grist Magazine

Full Story: Fastest-growing counties suburban, rural



Poor Data Analysis

Usually 'fastest growing' statistics are based on percent growth, which can be deceiving because smaller counties tend to display a higher growth rate. A more meaningful comparison would be based on absolute growth - which counties are adding the greatest number of people and households annually.

Besides that, this article is confusing because it compares the population of counties of vastly different size.

We need to hold the media accountable for a more thoughtful and meaningful use of statistics.

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