Weatherford Democrat

September 9, 2013

Survey has Parker among top growth counties in U.S.


Weatherford Democrat

— Staff Reports

A study of 750 counties across the U.S. listed Parker County as one of the fastest growing counties in the nation.

The results of a survey by the website NerdWallet were released earlier this week. Parker County was listed 11th, narrowly missing the listing’s top 10 by just seven-tenths of a point. Three other Texas counties – Guadalupe, Fort Bend and Williamson – each made the list’s top 10. Topping the rankings was Orleans Parish in Louisiana.

NerdWallet, a website dedicated to helping consumers make smart and informed spending and living choices, analyzed specific U.S. Census Data of 750 counties for the period 2007-2011.

“County growth is often defined simply by population increases. But at NerdWallet, we employed a more methodical approach to determine U.S. county growth,” a company press release stated. “We based our rankings on a number of factors, including employment, population and income. We sorted through the data to discover which are the fastest growing counties in the U.S.”

The survey looked at:

• Population growth in the working-age population (people ages 16 years and up).

• Growth in the percentage of employed residents (ages 16 years and up).

• Growth in median income for workers.

The survey then used those numbers to devise an overall score used to rank the counties.

Parker County Judge Mark Riley said he was pleased but not not surprised the county was ranked so high in such a listing.

“I am not surprised our growth is positive, but I had no idea we would finally make an important growth ranking,” said Riley. “It speaks highly of what we are accomplishing.”

Riley said the growth survey is an indication that the county must be progressive and continue planning ahead to meet the needs a growing population will place on services and infrastructure.

“The taxpayers have made a solid investment in infrastructure for the future by approving the Parker County Transportation Bond,” said Riley. “There is no better economic engine for a community than good infrastructure. We will soon experience how that works when the Ric Williamson Memorial Highway is completed next year. As we look to future needs, the east loop is a priority for the county. I have been working with our transportation partners to seek funding to begin building the next phase of the loop. The downside to growth is the added strain on the criminal justice system. Courts become overcrowded and jails reach capacity. We will continue to monitor those future needs and how best to address them.”

Riley said Parker County is in a favorable geographic location that offers people a chance to live in communities with good schools but within easy reach of everything the Metroplex has to offer, as well as enjoying the expanding retail, entertainment and dining options within the county.

“We have all the quality of life issues people seek when moving to a smaller environment,” Riley said. “Excellent schools, churches and a choice in living style, be it in a town or in a rural setting. The growth of retail choices across the county are enhancements as well. I believe when people choose Parker County to live, and I think it is important we are sensitive to the fact they ‘choose’ to live here, they see a community with vision and commitment to our past heritage and future generations.”