This Is America’s Fastest-Growing County

Based on the 2020 U.S. Census data, America grew more slowly in the past decade than at any time in over half a century. Over the 10 years since the 2010 figures were posted, the rise barely topped 7%. An aging population and decisions by many Americans to delay marriage contributed to the most modest increase to 331,449,281.

The increase varied substantially among America’s slightly more than 3,000 counties. In Alexander County, Illinois, the population dropped 36.4% to 5,240. The Wall Street Journal gave a partial reason, based on the figures from one town in Alexander County:

Cairo (pronounced KAY-ro) has been the epicenter of the county’s loss. A once bustling river port, the town has suffered for decades from the decline of shipping, coal mining, government and manufacturing jobs.

At the far end of the spectrum, the population in one county more than doubled from 2010 to 2020. The number of residents of McKenzie County, North Dakota, grew by 131.2% to 14,704. The county sits on the far western border of the state, where it meets Montana. Its county seat, Watford City, posted a much faster growth, from 1,744 in 2010 to 7,944 last year.

The growth of the county results largely from the huge fracking boom in the Bakken oil field. Oil produced by pressurized liquids forced into rock formations helped the United States get a measure of energy independence. This production peaked in late 2019. High-paying jobs in the industry drew tens of thousands of people.

The median household income in McKenzie County is unusually high. At $77,845, it sits about $10,000 above the comparable national number.

The second-fastest-growing county in America over the period also is in North Dakota. Williams County posted a growth rate of 82.8% to 40,950. It is immediately north of McKenzie County, and the reason for its growth is the same. The median household income in Williams County is an unusually high $87,161.

Will the growth of these counties continue over the next decade? Almost certainly not. While the fracking boom has not ended entirely, the industry has taken a downturn, driven by a drop in the price of crude.

These are the 20 fastest-growing counties in America:

County2020 Population% Change
McKenzie County, N.D.14,704131.20%
Williams County, N.D.40,95082.80%
Hays County, Texas241,06753.40%
Dallas County, Iowa99,67850.70%
Comal County, Texas161,50148.90%
Bryan County, Ga.44,73848.00%
Wasatch County, Utah34,78847.80%
Trousdale County, Tenn.11,61547.60%
Lincoln County, S.D.65,16145.40%
Osceola County, Fla.388,65644.70%
Williamson County, Texas609,01744.10%
St. Johns County, Fla.273,42543.90%
Forsyth County, Ga.251,28343.20%
Madison County, Idaho52,91341.00%
Kaufman County, Texas145,31040.60%
Fort Bend County, Texas822,77940.60%
Nantucket County, Mass.14,25540.10%
Stark County, N.D.33,64639.00%
Sumter County, Fla.129,75238.90%
Rockwall County, Texas107,81937.60%

Click here to read about the fastest-growing city in America.


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