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Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today said all South Dakotans should take pride in new census bureau numbers showing two South Dakota counties among the top five fastest-growing counties in America.

South Dakota’s Hanson and Lincoln Counties were the nation’s fourth and fifth fastest-growing counties between July 1, 2003, and July 1, 2004, experiencing a 7.9 percent and 7.5 percent population increase, respectively, according to estimates released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“These new census numbers prove what we all know: South Dakota is a great place to live and raise a family,” Thune said. “More Americans are moving to South Dakota to be a part of our state’s success. It’s a testament to the great quality of life in South Dakota.”

Hanson County grew by 278 people between July 1, 2003, and July 1, 2004, bringing the county’s population to 3,786. Lincoln County’s population is now 31,437, an increase of 2,190 over the previous year.

The nation’s other top five fastest-growing counties were Flagler, Fla., located along the Atlantic coast between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, and counties in Illinois and Virginia.

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