Rains Co. one of fastest growing in nation
Counties east of Dallas seeing more people moving in

Bruce Alsobrook | News-Telegram Editor

April 9, 2004 -- Hopkins County's population grew by 2.2 percent from April 2000 to July of last year, while its neighbor to the southwest expanded at a rate of 18.8 percent -- the 20th fastest in the nation.

While most of Hopkins County's growth can be attributed to a healthy birth rate, the population estimates for July 1, 2003, released by the U.S. Census Bureau Thursday show a definite trend of people from other areas moving to the counties east of Dallas.

Hopkins County grew by about 700 people over the three-year period. The population rose from 31,960 in April 2000 to 32,681 as of July 1, 2003.

Most of the county's growth came from established residents -- there were 392 more births than deaths over the three year period. Migrants from other countries added another 247 people to the count.

Internal migration -- people from other parts of the state and nation setting up house in Hopkins County -- only numbered 124, but there's more to that number than meets the eye.

Hopkins County actually saw more people moving out of the area than in from July 2000 to July 2002. There was a net loss of 50 residents in that period. But that turned around dramatically the following year, with 147 more people moving into the county from July 2002 to July 2003.

That seems to be the case with several counties on or near the Interstate 30 corridor east of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex -- more people are moving in than moving out.

That's the obvious explanation for Rains County's growth, which expanded at a rate of 18.8 percent, making it the fourth-fastest growing in Texas and number 20 in the nation.

And Rains County's residents are almost all coming from other cities. Rains County actually had more deaths (341) than births (340) over the three-year period, and international migrants only accounted for another 59 new residents. But internal migration meant another 1,613 people coming to the area around Lake Fork.

Rockwall County continues to be the fastest-growing in Texas. The smallest county in the state geographically rose from 43,080 to 54,630, a net gain of 11,550. Of those new residents, 1,300 were from births, 357 from international migration, and 9,572 from internal migration.

Other nearby neighbors of Hopkins County also saw significant numbers of people moving in from other areas.

Franklin County's population rose by 4.7 percent, from 9,458 to 9,906. A total of 341 people moved into the area to help account for the change.

In Hunt County, the 5.7 percent growth raised the numbersw from 76,596 to 81,024. Of the 4,428 new residents, 2,344 were from internal migration, while births acconted for another 1,323.

Wood County rose by 2,534 people -- with 2,523 of those attributed to internal migration -- putting the population at 39,286, or growth of 6.9 percent.

The exception seems to be Titus County, which saw 1,138 more residents move away than move in over the three years. A differential of 807 more births than deaths and international migration of 822 offest the losses, however.

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