Fastest-growing counties in New Hampshire

Written by:
July 1, 2022
Graham Nadig // Flickr

Fastest-growing counties in New Hampshire

Why do people move from one county or region to another? The usual suspects are jobs, family, significant others, and overall cost of living, but there are other elements at play. For those with children, moving within close proximity of a highly rated school district is a key contributing factor. For younger adults just starting out, living someplace with a vibrant social scene might be a top priority. And for those whose careers have wound down after a lifetime of work, finding retirement-friendly communities is the goal—communities deemed to be safe, offer accessibility to medical resources and leisure activities in equal measure, and be affordable for those on a limited income.

This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive list. People’s reasons for choosing to live where they do are as diverse as people themselves.

As far as why certain counties across the U.S. have experienced growth, relocation is not the sole, or even primary, reason why. While more than 1,800 counties saw population gains in 2021, approximately 73% of all U.S. counties saw what the U.S. Census Bureau characterizes as a natural decrease. This was a significant jump from 2020, when 55.5% of countries experienced such a decrease. According to the Bureau, natural decrease is the simple result of “when there are more deaths than births in a population over a given time period.” In 2021, the conflation of fewer births with an aging population that was also absorbing a higher-than-usual mortality rate due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led to this “increased decrease.”

Nonetheless, as stated 1,800 counties nationwide have grown larger over the last year, and a sizable percentage of them are in New Hampshire. Stacker compiled a list of the fastest-growing counties in New Hampshire using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Counties are ranked by the highest population growth from 2010 to 2020, based on the U.S. Decennial Census.

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Americanadian 8 // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Coos County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -1,787
--- #2,793 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -5.4%
--- #10 among counties in New Hampshire, #2,387 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 31,268
--- #10 largest county in New Hampshire, #1,389 largest county nationwide
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TrunkJunk // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Sullivan County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -679
--- #2,311 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -1.6%
--- #9 among counties in New Hampshire, #1,753 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 43,063
--- #9 largest county in New Hampshire, #1,115 largest county nationwide
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Jon Platek // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Cheshire County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: -659
--- #2,295 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: -0.9%
--- #8 among counties in New Hampshire, #1,626 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 76,458
--- #6 largest county in New Hampshire, #732 largest county nationwide
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Josh Conover // Shutterstock

#7. Grafton County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,000
--- #817 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +2.2%
--- #7 among counties in New Hampshire, #1,145 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 91,118
--- #5 largest county in New Hampshire, #656 largest county nationwide
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NEKVT // Shutterstock

#6. Carroll County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +2,289
--- #783 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +4.8%
--- #6 among counties in New Hampshire, #850 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 50,107
--- #8 largest county in New Hampshire, #989 largest county nationwide

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Ken Gallager // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Belknap County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +3,617
--- #657 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.0%
--- #3 among counties in New Hampshire, #714 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 63,705
--- #7 largest county in New Hampshire, #842 largest county nationwide
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Smuttynoser // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Merrimack County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +7,363
--- #503 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.0%
--- #5 among counties in New Hampshire, #821 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 153,808
--- #3 largest county in New Hampshire, #443 largest county nationwide
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MoVaughn123 // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Strafford County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +7,746
--- #492 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.3%
--- #2 among counties in New Hampshire, #681 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 130,889
--- #4 largest county in New Hampshire, #493 largest county nationwide
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Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

#2. Rockingham County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +18,953
--- #302 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +6.4%
--- #1 among counties in New Hampshire, #671 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 314,176
--- #2 largest county in New Hampshire, #226 largest county nationwide
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Graham Nadig // Flickr

#1. Hillsborough County

- 2010 to 2020 population change: +22,216
--- #267 among all counties nationwide
- 2010 to 2020 percent population change: +5.5%
--- #4 among counties in New Hampshire, #767 among all counties nationwide
- 2020 population: 422,937
--- #1 largest county in New Hampshire, #168 largest county nationwide

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