Two-thirds of North Carolina’s counties experienced growth from 2016 to 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released today.

Census estimates show that as of July 1, 2017, 10.3 million people called North Carolina home and the state remains the ninth most populous in the country.

“North Carolina is a wonderful place to live, work, start a business and raise a family, so it’s no surprise that our state continues to welcome new residents,” Governor Roy Cooper said. “We want to encourage growth for all parts of North Carolina—urban and rural, from the mountains to the coast.”

The data show that 66% of North Carolina counties grew from 2016 to 2017, compared to population growth for 57% of counties nationally. In North Carolina, the largest numeric growth happened in metropolitan counties and fewer counties lost population than the previous year.

Brunswick County since April 2010 has seen the largest percent growth of any county in the state at 21.8 percent. Brunswick County is a part of the Myrtle Beach, SC metro area, the second fastest growing metro area in the country from 2016 to 2017, according to the Census Bureau.

Today’s estimates also highlighted growth in Southern Pines and Dunn (Harnett County). Both cities ranked among the top ten for numeric growth among micropolitan areas in the country, defined by the Census Bureau as urban clusters of between 10,000 and 50,000 residents.

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