Drawing much of its growth from nearby Dallas, 197 square mile Rockwall County's growth rate was seven times as fast as the nation's average of 1.1 percent.
According to the estimates, two northern Virginia counties, Loudoun (2nd) and Stafford (9th), both in the Washington, D.C., area, and three counties in the Atlanta vicinity, Henry (3rd), Forsyth (4th) and Newton (7th), registered strong growth for the 2001-2002 period.
Loudoun was not far behind Rockwall, with a growth rate of 7.3 percent from 2001 to 2002; Stafford broke into the top 10 with a growth rate of 6.2 percent. Henry, Forsyth and Newton counties' rates of growth were 7.1 percent, 7.1 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively.
Another East Coast county, Flagler, near Daytona Beach, Fla., ranked No. 5 in growth at 6.9 percent. Douglas County (outside Denver), Colo., which was 6th with a rate of 6.8 percent; Scott County (in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area), which was 8th with a rate of 6.4 percent; and Delaware County (near Columbus, Ohio), which was 10th at 6.1 percent, rounded out the top 10.
Overall, 61 percent of all 3,141 U.S. counties grew over the one-year period. Seven of the 10 counties whose population increased the fastest are in the South.
Among the 10 most populous counties, five were also among the 10 counties with the largest numerical population gains between 2001 and 2002. Los Angeles County was both the most populous county, with 9.8 million residents, as well as the largest numerical gainer, with an increase of 129,000. The other counties which made both lists were Maricopa (Phoenix), in Arizona; Orange and San Diego, both in California; and Harris (Houston), in Texas.