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CrowdRaleigh-Cary, N.C., and Austin-Round Rock, Texas, were the nations fastest-growing metro areas between 2007 and 2008, according to July 1, 2008, population estimates for the nations metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas and counties released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.Raleigh-Cary saw its population climb 4.3 percent between July 1, 2007, and July 1, 2008, to 1.1 million. Similarly, Austin-Round Rock experienced a 3.8 percent increase, to 1.7 million. These two large metro areas were among 47 of the 50 fastest-growing areas located entirely in the South or West. (Table 1)

Large metro areas ” those with 2008 populations of 1 million or more ” were home to nine of the 10 fastest-growing counties. These metros included New Orleans, which contains St. Bernard Parish (the nations fastest-growing county between 2007 and 2008) and neighboring Orleans Parish (the countrys third-fastest-growing county). The nations second-fastest-growing county in 2008 was Pinal in Arizona (part of the Phoenix metro area).

The Chicago metro area was home to the fourth-fastest-growing county, Kendall, and the Atlanta metro area was home to fifth-ranked Forsyth County. In Texas, the Austin metro area was the location of sixth-ranked Williamson and 10th-ranked Hays, San Antonio includes eighth-ranked Kendall, and Dallas-Fort Worth includes ninth-ranked Rockwall. Only seventh-ranked Geary, Kan., did not belong to a large metro area.

All in all, 94 of the 100 counties (with a population of 10,000 or more) with the fastest population growth last year were in either the South (71 counties) or the West (23 counties). The remaining six were in the Midwest. (Table 2)

Among the 10 counties that added the largest number of residents during the period, four were in Southern California (Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and Orange), three were in Texas (Harris, Tarrant and Bexar), and one each was in Arizona (Maricopa), Nevada (Clark) and North Carolina (Wake).

Among the 100 fastest-growing counties, the majority were in Texas (19), Georgia (14), North Carolina (11) or Utah (nine). Texas was home to 10 counties among the 25 with the highest numerical gains and California to six. Each of the top 25 was in the South or West, with the exception of Cook, Ill. (Chicago). Five counties were among both the 25 fastest-growing and the 25 top numerical gainers: Pinal, Ariz.; Orleans, La.; Williamson, Texas; Fort Bend, Texas; and Wake, N.C.Four of the 10 fastest-growing metro areas were in Utah and Idaho: Provo-Orem and St. George in Utah, Idaho Falls in Idaho, and Logan, which encompasses parts of Utah and Idaho.

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