Georgia’s Dawson and Lumpkin counties are among the 10 fastest-growing counties in the nation, according to newly released numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The populations of the two counties, which border each other north of metro Atlanta, grew by 5.8% between July 2021 and July of last year. That put them tied for fourth in the nation behind only Whitman County, Wash., the fastest-growing county; Kaufman County, Texas; and Sumter County, Fla.

Lumpkin County’s population actually went down from 33,487 to 32,890 between April 2020 – shortly after the pandemic struck Georgia – and July 2021 before rebounding to 34,796 last July.

Dawson County grew steadily from 26,796 in April 2020 to 28,475 in July 2021, and again to 30,138 in July of last year.

Lumpkin County’s experience of losing population only to gain it back mirrored what was happening across the country in much larger counties, said Dr. Christine Hartley, assistant division chief for estimates and projections in the Census Bureau’s population division.

“Some urban counties, such as Dallas and San Francisco, saw domestic outmigration at a slower pace between 2021 and 2022 compared to the prior year,” Hartley said. “Meanwhile, many counties with large universities saw their populations fully rebound this year as students returned.”

Fulton County remained the most populous in Georgia with nearly 1.1 million residents as of last July. Fulton was followed by Gwinnett County with a population of 975,353; and Cobb County with a population of 771,952.

In all, 12 counties in Georgia had populations of 200,000 or more in July of last year:

County Population (July 2022)

Fulton 1,074,634

Gwinnett 975,353

Cobb 771,952

DeKalb 762,820

Chatham 301,107

Clayton 296,564

Cherokee 281,278

Forsyth 267,237

Henry 248.364

Hall 212,692

Richmond 205,358

Muscogee 202,616

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Dave Williams is the Bureau Chief of Capitol Beat News Service.