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Growth gathering steam
Census: Bulloch 27th fastest growing county in US
W PEANUT FEST  082110 004
A crowd of people visit the Brooklet Peanut Festival in this August 2010 Herald file photo. According to recently released census data, Bulloch County ranks among the 30 fastest growing counties in the U.S. and is the fourth fastest growing county in Georgia. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/Herald File

    Bulloch County is one of the fastest growing communities in the United States. Since the last official census was taken in April 2010, the population of Bulloch County has grown from 70,213 as of July 1, 2010 to 72,881, an increase of 2,668 people, as of July 1, 2011, according to the latest population estimate based on census trends.
    The rate of growth of 3.8 percent makes Bulloch County among the 30 fastest growing counties in the country – ranking 27th out of 3,143 counties or their equivalents nationwide. Also, Bulloch is now the fourth fastest growing county in Georgia, behind only Charlton, Long and Chattahoochee counties.
    “Bulloch County’s growth is organic, as our birth rate is increasing,” said Andy Welch, who heads up Bulloch County’s planning division. “We are seeing very strong net migration of new residents, whom we think are moving here from nearby communities seeking employment opportunities, and also from resident student growth associated with Georgia Southern University.”
    The county ranks 13th in the state in terms of growing by total residents since the official 2010 census was taken.
    Out of 159 counties in Georgia, Bulloch County has moved up to the 31st largest compared to its rank of 37th after the 2000 Census. It remains the third most populous county in the Coastal Georgia region behind Chatham County and Glynn County. Bulloch County’s numeric growth of 2,668 during the July 2010-July 2011 period is the highest in the region, and the percentage rate of growth is second behind Long County.
    Bulloch County’s growth rate is nearly twice as fast as the region as a whole (3.8 percent compared to 2.1 percent) and far outpaces the State of Georgia’s overall growth rate of 1.3 percent, while representing 11 percent of the Coastal Region’s population.
    “This could be an anomaly, or the beginning of a prolonged boom cycle,” said County Manager Tom Couch. “When you hear of fast growing communities in Georgia, it has historically been on a metro fringe like Effingham County outside of Savannah, or the Atlanta exurbs — there’s a new hypothesis that supports our community being a future growth center.”
    Meanwhile, the Statesboro micropolitan area ranks as the sixth fastest-growing micropolitan area in the United States since the 2010 Census was taken.
    A micropolitan area, a term first designated by the Census Bureau in 2003, describes growing population centers that are removed from larger cities or metropolitan areas and that have significant economies and attractions. For statistical purposes, the Census Bureau uses the county-level of measurement noting that Statesboro represents the urban cluster. There are 576 total micropolitan areas in the in the United States.
    “These new population numbers stress the importance of on-going planning to balance the additional demands for public services,” Couch said. “It also proves that more people continue to come here to Bulloch County to live, work and learn, even in a challenged economy.”

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