NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

New Prisons Make Virginia County Fastest Growing In U.S.

March 10, 2000

Virginia's Sussex County is host to two new prisons completed in 1999 -- and is host to about 2,400 inmates. The new residents catapulted the remote, peanut-growing country into first place on the Census Bureau ranking of the fastest growing counties in the nation. The county's population sprinted ahead about 23 percent to 12,345.

"Other than the inmates, we really haven't grown at all," comments County Sheriff Stewart Kitchen.

Otherwise, counties which are suburbs of big cities continued to dominate the list.

  • Five of the 10 fastest growing counties from 1998 to 1999 were around Atlanta -- Forsyth, Henry, Paulding, Walton and Dawson counties.
  • Denver's suburban Douglas County came in third in growth, with a population increase of 11 percent.
  • The Washington, D.C. suburb of Loudon County saw an 8 percent population increase.

Meanwhile, Grand Forks County in North Dakota -- which was hit by a devastating flood in 1997 -- lost the highest percentage of people last year: some 3 percent.

Source: Yasmin Anwar, "Peanut County in Va. Grew Fastest Last Year," USA Today, March 9, 2000.


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