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Brunswick is once again the fastest-growing county

One year population change by North Carolina county. Measured in percent change.
Census Bureau
One year of population change by North Carolina county. Measured in percent change.

Brunswick County has once again topped the list as the fastest-growing county in the state.

The county's population increased by 8,250 from 2021 to 2022, according to Census Bureau estimates. That's a growth rate of 5.7%, the highest in North Carolina.

Brunswick County Planning Director Kirstie Dixon says being between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has contributed to the fast growth.

"A lot of their growth is spilling over into Brunswick County. [Brunswick has] a lot of bedroom communities to both Myrtle Beach and to Wilmington," she said. "Plus we have the gorgeous beaches."

Brunswick is also the fastest-growing county since 2020, with the population increasing by 12% in that time, according to the Census Bureau. While Dixon says the growth is mostly positive, it brings a few challenges common to other fast-growing areas as well.

"One of the main challenges is affordable housing," she said. "Even though Brunswick County is vast, and one of the things we do have is land area, it's still really impactful from an affordable housing standpoint."

The two other fastest-growing counties last year were Currituck and Pender. Across the state, 25 counties saw year-over-year population decreases.

In total population growth — not percentage increase — Wake County again saw the greatest rise in the state. Wake's population grew by 22,600 people. Mecklenburg County's population increased by 19,600.

Jason deBruyn is WUNC's Supervising Editor for Digital News, a position he took in 2024. He has been in the WUNC newsroom since 2016 as a reporter.
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