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Study: Loudoun now third largest county in Va.

Loudoun's population boom is showing no signs of tapering in the 2010s, according to data released Tuesday by University of Virginia researchers.

Demographers at U.Va.'s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service estimate more than 35,000 people moved into Loudoun County from the 2010 census to July 1 of last year, making Loudoun the fastest-growing and third largest county in Virginia, surpassing Chesterfield County for the latter distinction.

The Weldon Cooper Center figures reveal Loudoun's population is now nearly 348,000, a more than 11 percent increase from the official 2010 census figure of 312,311.

Loudoun is joined in the top three most populous counties in the commonwealth by Northern Virginia neighbors Fairfax (1.11 million) and Prince William (402,000), per the U.Va. study.

β€œ[The report] tells me that the county is a beautiful place and that people want to live here,” Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd said. β€œThe town is the largest in Virginia and people here and throughout the county benefit from the Dulles airport, the nearby high tech corridors and the natural beauty of western Loudoun.”

U.Va.'s findings align with a report by Forbes.com last September that found Loudoun to be the second-fastest growing county in the U.S. from 2010-2012.

Researchers say population estimates are an important tool used by various state agencies in their planning processes, from developing budgets to determining salaries for public officials.

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