Among all the counties in the United States at the turn of the millennium, Maricopa was the star attraction.
Maricopa County added more people than any other U.S. county between April 1, 2000, and July 1, 2001, according to U.S. Census estimates released today.
Already the fourth-largest county in the country after the 2000 census, Maricopa County gained 122,649 people in the 15 months, the report said.
Only Los Angeles County came anywhere close, with about 118,000 new residents.
Maricopa County, with a 4 percent growth rate, did not make the list of the top 100 counties in terms of growth percentage. Those that did make the list are far smaller than Maricopa; only two had as many as 1 million people.
On the other hand, Maricopa County surpassed 3 million in the 2000 census. With its new residents, the county’s population was estimated at 3,194,798 on July 1, 2001.
Harry Wolfe, senior project manager for the Maricopa Association of Governments, said the federal numbers closely mirror what MAG has been tracking. MAG estimates the county grew by an additional 100,000 people between July 2001 and July 2002, meaning the county is growing by a million people a decade.
"We keep waiting for it to sort of die down," Wolfe said, "but there’s still a lot of building and a lot of people moving here."
Not all the growth was due to people moving in, however.
An estimated 66,298 babies were born in Maricopa County during those 15 months, and 28,515 people died. So the natural population growth was nearly 38,000.
Migration added an additional 84,000-plus, the report said.
Pinal County gained 9,199 people in the new estimate.