The fastest-growing mid-sized county during the first seven years of this century is in South Dakota. Lincoln County, just outside Sioux Falls, grew by nearly 14,000 people over seven years, a 56.4% increase in population to 37,765, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The other 20 fastest-growing counties with populations between 20,000 and 65,000 were largely located near expanding urban areas. Often, however, these fast-growing metro regions weren’t among the nation’s hottest properties. Lyon County, Nevada, grew by 52 percent from 2000 to 2007, for example. But Lyon is adjacent to Carson City, the state’s capitol, not Las Vegas.

Jackson County, Georgia, third on the list of fastest-growing mid-sized counties, is near Athens, not Atlanta. Number four, Dallas County, Iowa, is near Des Moines, hardly another Las Vegas or Orlando.

Downtown Canton, South Dakota, county seat of Lincoln County, the fastest-growing mid-sized county in the country.
Photo: courthouselover

King George and Culpepper counties in Virginia are several counties out from Washington, D.C. And officials in those places say growth in there has already begun to slow.

The Census Bureau counts every household only ever ten years. Between these house-to-house tallies, the Bureau conducts surveys to update its figures. These surveys alone don’t contact enough people in smaller, Yonder-sized counties to make a statistically-valid estimate. The Bureau combined three years of surveys in order to gather enough information in these counties to come to a valid estimate of population growth.

Lincoln County’s growth has been amazing. From 2000 to 2007, the number of people 25 years of age and older with a college degree there has increased by 82%. Nearby Sioux Falls has been undergoing a tech boom recently, as the city has become a medical services center.

The Census Bureau also found that enrollment in high school has increased 74% in Lyon County, Nevada; and that the number of people who spoke a language other than English at home increased 69% in Dallas County, Iowa.

Here is the list of the 20 fastest-growing counties (between 20,000 and 65,000 people) from 2000 to 2007:


Change, 2000 to 2007
July 1, 2007April 1, 2000NumberPercent
1Lincoln County, SD37,76524,14713,61856.4
2Lyon County, NV52,47934,50117,97852.1
3Jackson County, GA59,25441,58917,66542.5
4Dallas County, IA57,28840,77316,51540.5
5Broomfield County, CO*53,69139,21214,47936.9
6Effingham County, GA50,72837,53513,19335.1
7Wasatch County, UT20,53515,2155,32035.0
8Nye County, NV44,11632,71511,40134.8
9Tooele County, UT54,91440,73514,17934.8
10King George County, VA22,63016,8035,82734.7
11Dawson County, GA21,48415,9995,48534.3
12Lee County, GA33,05024,7578,29333.5
13Culpeper County, VA45,72334,26311,46033.4
14Madison County, ID36,64727,4679,18033.4
15Pickens County, GA30,48822,9837,50532.7
16Lincoln County, MO51,52838,94412,58432.3
17Kendall County, TX31,34223,7467,59632.0
18Currituck County, NC23,96018,1905,77031.7
19Walton County, FL52,88140,60212,27930.2
20Wakulla County, FL29,72622,8636,86330.0

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