BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. — Six North Carolina counties have been ranked among the fastest growing counties in the country.
Officials from one of those counties, Brunswick, are focusing on industrial growth now to keep up with their already booming population. From quiet, secluded subdivisions to bustling beach front communities, Brunswick County boasts broad and varying landscapes.
"Brunswick County has over 820 square miles, which is as large as some countries in the world,” said Executive Director of the Brunswick County Economic Development Commission Jim Bradshaw.
He adds that is part of the reason it has seen such a population boom in recent years. The U.S. Census Bureau just listed Brunswick as the 89th fastest growing county in the country.
"I know in the past three years we've seen about 5,000 new residents," Bradshaw said. "So if that continues, then you're looking at 18,000 to 20,000 people moving into the county between 2010 and 2020."
Realtor and mayor of Ocean Isle Beach Debbie Smith said aside from the appeal of quiet living, she believes the economic climate has also been playing a major role in the county's success.
"I think consumer confidence is going up," Smith said. "A lot of people have, I think, waited to make a move or decision, and now that there are some positive economic indicators, they are making that move."
Leland's Brunswick Forest has been called one of the fastest growing residential communities in Brunswick County. However, residential growth has been happening for years. Officials said the talk this year is all about commercial growth.
"We're also seeing an increase in activity for industrial development with our two large industrial sites. Over 2,000 acres," Bradshaw said. "We're seeing industries interested in this community as well."
If that growth continues, Bradshaw said he anticipates only great things for the area's future. The other counties in North Carolina included in the ranking were Hoke, Harnett, Wake, Mecklenburg and Durham.