WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Maricopa County, Arizona, replaced Harris County, Texas, as the county with the highest annual population growth in the United States, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released recently.

Harris County was the largest numeric gainer for eight years in a row. Maricopa County gained 81,360 people between July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2016, or about 222 people per day, while Harris County gained 56,587 people, or about 155 people per day on average.

Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, primarily grew through the addition of 43,189 residents from net domestic migration, a measure of how many people move to or from an area versus other parts of the United States. The county also added 25,428 people from natural increase (more births than deaths) and 10,188 people from net international migration.Harris County, Texas, home to Houston, saw changes in net domestic migration, going from a net gain of more than 17,000 to a net loss of more than 16,000. Despite this, Harris County had the second largest gain in population due to high natural increase (46,412) and net international migration (27,922).

Maricopa also grew the fastest among the top 10 largest counties at 1.95 percent, an increase from 1.90 percent from the previous year. Harris County remained the third-largest county with 4.6 million people, and Maricopa County remained the fourth-largest county with 4.2 million people. Los Angeles County and Cook County, Illinois, remained the largest and second-largest counties, respectively.

The top population-gaining counties from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016 were: Maricopa County, Arizona; Harris County, Texas; Clark County, Nevada; King County, Washington; and Tarrant County, Texas.

The statistics released in late March provide population estimates and components of change for our nation's 382 metropolitan statistical areas, 551 micropolitan statistical areas, and 3,142 counties.

Cook County, Ill. (Chicago): loss of 21,324, Wayne County, Mich. (Detroit): loss of 7,696, and Baltimore city, Maryland.: loss of 6,738, were three high-population counties that continued to see population loss.

Three of the 20 fastest-growing metro areas between 2015 and 2016 were located either partially or completely in Utah (St. George, Utah; Provo-Orem, Utah; and Logan, Utah-Idaho). Also, San Juan County, Utah, was the fastest-growing county in the United States among counties with populations of 10,000 or more in 2015. It grew by 7.6 percent.

North Dakota counties no longer top the list of fastest-growing counties by percentage change. McKenzie County fell from second-fastest growing by percentage change to 2,858th. Williams County fell from third to 3,105th. Mountrail County fell from sixth to 2,375th. Stark County fell from eighth to 3,103rd.

All of these counties lost population due to people moving away to other parts of the United States (negative net domestic migration). Formerly fast-growing North Dakota counties have been replaced in the top 10 by counties in Iowa, Oregon and Washington. Other top 10 counties once again are in Utah, Texas and Florida.

Also, for the fourth year in a row, The Villages, Florida, a metro area west of the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida., metro area, was the nation's fastest-growing metro area, with a 4.3 percent population increase between 2015 and 2016.

The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas, and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas, metro areas were the two largest numeric-gaining metro areas between 2015 and 2016, increasing by more than 100,000 each.

Find more highlights from this year's release and local-level statistics on http://census.gov.


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