Despite the unemployment numbers, people are still moving to North Carolina. Though the growth rate has slowed a bit, new numbers from the US Census Bureau shows our piece of paradise is still a desirable place to live. According to Brunswick County Commissioner, Bill Sue, there is a clear reason why. "Our growth is tied into retirement folks, the baby boomers, as they leave the northeastern states, and come south where the quality of life, in my opinion, is much better,” he said. Retiree, Tom Livingston was in search of lower property taxes. Last year, he relocated from New Hampshire to Bolivia. "On a fixed income, you have to go where the price is right,” Livingston said. “It's more relaxed here and I love your oceans." On a national scale, the Raleigh metropolitan area ranks number one for growth. The Wilmington metropolitan area, which includes Brunswick and Pender counties, is 26th. In 2007, more than 190,000 people called New Hanover County home. Brunswick County's population was more than 98,000. Both Columbus and Pender counties peaked over the 50,000 mark. Bladen County's population came in at over 32,000 people. Last year, all five counties saw a population increase with Pender, New Hanover and Brunswick counties seeing the most significant growth. Brunswick led the region with more than 4,000 people moving in. Sue said even though residential development has felt the impact of a struggling economy, he remains optimistic. "As the economy turns around, we will see our ranking go back up because I don't know of a better place to live than Brunswick County." North Carolina's population might continue to rise. In this week's budget proposal, Governor Perdue set aside two million dollars to help attract more industry to the state, and further promote North Carolina as a tourist destination.
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