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In this file photo, a coal truck drives out of downtown Welch, W.Va. A record number of U.S. counties - more than 1 in 3 - are now dying off, hit by an aging population and weakened local economies that are spurring young adults to seek jobs elsewhere. New 2012 census estimates highlight the population shifts as the U.S. encounters its most sluggish growth levels since the Great Depression.(AP Photo/Jon C. Hancock, File)

Census shows record 1 in 3 US counties are dying

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A record number of U.S. counties — more than 1 in 3 — are now dying off, hit by an aging population and weakened local economies that are spurring young adults to seek jobs and build families elsewhere.

New 2012 census estimates released Thursday highlight the population shifts as the U.S. encounters its most sluggish growth levels since the Great Depression.

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