Beaufort County posts slight population growth
Published 10:50 am Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Neighboring counties are rapidly shrinking
By TED STRONG
Beaufort County’s population grew slightly in the first eight years of the current decade, according to figures released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The county’s population increase of 2.4 percent from 2000 to July 2008 is in stark contrast to population losses in Hyde, Martin and Washington counties.
Hyde County had the sharpest drop in population among the state’s 100 counties, experiencing an 11.1 percent decline. Martin County had the second-steepest decline, posting an 8.4 percent tumble. Washington County came in fourth from the bottom, percentage-wise, with a drop of 5.7 percent. The state’s population grew by 14.6 percent.
New residents need houses and cars, both of which are taxed by the county, which creates revenue for the county, said Commissioner Ed Booth.
Booth said he believes Beaufort County’s aggressive pursuit of jobs has helped the region grow.
Deatherage also attributed the population growth to the region’s temperate climate, and he said industrial losses have prevented the increase from being higher.
The fastest-growing county in the state was Union County, which more than doubled its population with a 56.1 percent growth rate.
Brunswick County, the second-fastest growing county, experienced a 41 percent increase.
Trailing the top counties but doing better than Beaufort County was Pitt County, which saw a 16.7 percent increase in residents.