Arkansas’s charm, reasonable cost of living, and growing economic opportunities attracted many people to its borders within the last several years. Per the latest U.S. Census data, Arkansas’ fastest-growing counties welcomed over 34,000 new residents from the previous year. In 2017, the state surpassed a population of 3 million residents for the first time and has seen net population growth yearly.
Partially due to migratory patterns away from coastal cities and towards the central states, helped along by the pandemic, many Arkansas counties are experiencing rapid growth, with some leading the charge. Check out our list to learn more about Arkansas’s top ten fastest-growing counties and the reasons behind their allure.
How to Measure Arkansas Population Growth
When calculating population growth in a given area, the standard formula incorporates two population measurements and their change over a given period. This equation is presented as follows:
Percentage increase = ((Final Value – Initial Value) / Initial Value) x 100
To use Arkansas’ state capital, Little Rock, as an example, the city’s population was 204,405 in 2022, up from 193,524 in 2010. After doing the math, we can calculate that Little Rock, AR, grew by 5.6%. To calculate this change:
5.6% = ((204,405 – 193,524) / 193,524) x 100
However, a blanket percentage measurement doesn’t account for peaks and declines in the years within that time window. Population changes may have varied wildly from year to year but yielded practically little change when using the above math. This is why this report includes both annual and period-based growth amounts for each county to give a clearer picture.
The data in this article comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, based on their measurements of population counts in 2010-2020 and 2020-2022. While the decennial census data represents the most accurate information, counts outside this report (which occur once every ten years) are estimates.
Additionally, the population growth in these counties isn’t necessarily representative of a given area’s size and total population density.
The number of people flocking to Benton County, AR, jumped radically in the last several years with no signs of slowing. The population of the Northwest Arkansas area grew a radical 28.6% in the 2010-2020 period and jumped another 6.5% in the following two years.
- 2010 Population: 222,601
- 2020 Population: 286,353
- 2022 Population: 302,863
- Population Change from 2010: +80,262
- Average Annual Growth Percentage: 3%
- Total Growth Percentage: 36.05%
- 2nd Largest County by Population in Arkansas
- Largest City: Springdale (87,672)
- Smallest City (Incorporated): Springtown (89)
- Fun Fact: Bentonville, a city in Benton County, is Walmart’s birthplace and world headquarters.
New residents flooded Washington County’s borders in the last several years, with the county posting an impressive 20.9% jump in residents between 2010-2020. In 2022, the county gained another 4.1% rise in citizens, making it one of the fastest-growing counties in Arkansas.
- 2010 Population: 204,021
- 2020 Population: 246,662
- 2022 Population: 256,054
- Population Change from 2010: +52,033
- Average Annual Growth Percentage: 2.13%
- Total Growth Percentage: 25.5%
- 3rd Largest County by Population in Arkansas
- Largest City: Fayetteville (99,285)
- Smallest City (Incorporated): Winslow (362)
- Fun Fact: Washington County contains three segments of the Ozark National Forest and lies nestled in the Ozark Mountains.
In Saline County, AR, the popular area became even more populated thanks to a surge in new resident arrivals. The region grew by 14.9% in the decade between the 2010 and 2020 U.S. census and up another 3.2% in the two full years following.
- 2010 Population: 107,651
- 2020 Population: 123,681
- 2022 Population: 127,357
- Population Change from 2010: +19,706
- Average Annual Growth Percentage: 1.53%
- Total Growth Percentage: 18.31%
- 6th Largest County by Population in Arkansas
- Largest City: Benton (36,593)
- Smallest City (Incorporated): Traskwood (507)
- Fun Fact: Saline County was named for the early salt works in the region, even though Saline is pronounced differently for the two words.
The folks of Faulker County have seen an uptick in new neighbors over the last twelve years, with an impressive 8.4% in population count between 2010-2020. Nearly 4,000 more people arrived in the next two years, making Faulker one of the fastest-growing counties in the state.
- 2010 Population: 114,035
- 2020 Population: 123,666
- 2022 Population: 127,665
- Population Change from 2010: +13,630
- Average Annual Growth Percentage: 1%
- Total Growth Percentage: 11.95%
- 5th Largest County by Population in Arkansas
- Largest City: Conway (67,617)
- Smallest City (Incorporated): Twin Groves (319)
- Fun Fact: Faulkner County is one of the youngest counties in Arkansas, formed in 1873.
Madison County, AR, is rather small compared to other areas in the state, but its population has experienced impressive growth in the last several years. Its citizenship jumped 5.5% between the 2010 and 2020 decennial censuses, with further growth in the following two years.
- 2010 Population: 15,686
- 2020 Population: 16,551
- 2022 Population: 17,486
- Population Change from 2010-2022: +1800
- Average Annual Growth Percentage: 0.96%
- Total Growth Percentage: 11.48%
- 40th Largest County by Population in Arkansas
- Largest City: Huntsville (2879)
- Smallest City (Incorporated): Hindsville (90)
- Fun Fact: The county (Madison) and county seat (Huntsville) are named after the corresponding county and city in Alabama.
Boone County has experienced a more minor population boom than other counties on this list, but its consistency still deserves a place among Arkansas’ fastest-growing areas. The region attracted 2.4% more residents between 2020-2022 and was up 1.2% over the previous decade.
- 2010 Population: 36,893
- 2020 Population: 37,352
- 2022 Population: 38,284
- Population Change from 2010: +1,391
- Average Annual Growth Percentage: 0.31%
- Total Growth Percentage: 3.77%
- 19th Largest County by Population in Arkansas
- Largest City: Harrison (13,338)
- Smallest City (Incorporated): South Lead Hill (87)
- Fun Fact: The region was initially called “Boon County” because its residents thought it would be a boon to all who moved there. The “e” was added later, making some believe the region was named for the adventurer Daniel Boone.
Summary of Fastest-Growing Counties in Arkansas
|Rank||County||Annual % Growth 2001-2022|
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