Today's story and app on the U.S. Census Bureau's latest population characteristics focuses solely on Texas, but data are available for each county in the United States.

There are more than 3,000 counties (or similar geographic areas like "parishes" in Louisiana), so mapping helps visualize where — and at what rates — the nation's population is heading. 

Using the bureau's GIS data, we created this thematic map, which illustrates what we've noted here before: that Texas' strongest growth is concentrated in surburban areas around Dallas and Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. 

But the national map shows the full picture. You'll notice the population increases in the Southwest, strongest around Las Vegas and Phoenix and their respective suburbs. There's also significant growth in Utah, which has among the highest birth rates in the nation — as well as areas in and around Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Raleigh, and the Interstate 4 corridor in Florida. (I've uploaded a higher-resolution PDF version).

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