Atlanta Region’s Population Growth Picks up Steam, Adds 69,200 People in Past Year

The Atlanta region’s growth is kicking into a higher gear as the Great Recession recedes further into the rearview mirror.

The 10-county region added 69,200 residents between April 2015 and April 2016, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission’s latest annual population estimates, pushing the total population to 4,401,800.

The region’s population grew at a faster rate than any time since the recession, increasing by 1.6 percent, compared to 1.4 percent (60,300) a year earlier and 1.2 percent (52,700) in 2014.

The population increase is being fueled by strong employment growth. The 29-county Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area added nearly 77,000 jobs between May 2015 and May 2016, the third-highest total among the nation’s largest metro areas.

“As always, more jobs means more people,” said Mike Carnathan, manager of ARC’s Research & Analytics Division. “Newcomers are increasingly attracted to our region as our economy picks up steam, post-recession.”

One of those transplants is Whitney Johnson, 29, who moved to metro Atlanta from High Point, N.C. last December to take a job as a stylist with the Rooms to Go photo studio.

“I had always heard very good things about the Atlanta region, it seemed like a great place for career opportunities,” said Johnson. “It’s definitely exceeded my expectations!”

Brazilian native Ana Pinheiro, another newcomer, moved to Atlanta in July 2015 shortly after graduating college to take a job in the health care industry. Pinheiro, who doesn’t own a car and gets around by bike and bus, says the region has a growing reputation as a great place for Millennials. So far, she hasn’t been disappointed.

“I like the cultural variety found throughout the city which allows bridge building, learning and great food,” said Pinheiro, who has spent the last year getting to know her new home through attending its frequent food and cultural festivals.

All 10 counties in the region experienced population growth during the year. Gwinnett County grew the most, adding 17,300 new residents. Fulton County was right behind with 15,300 new residents. If Fulton adds as many residents next year, the county will break the one million mark. Cobb County experienced the third highest growth, adding 9,900 new residents.

Fueled by a surge in multi-family housing units, the City of Atlanta grew by 7,900. That represents a significant jump: the city added just 4,800 last year, 4,100 the prior year, and only 1,200 in 2013.

“These latest ARC population estimates show that the Atlanta region is resilient and continues to be a place of opportunity and a magnet for people seeking a high quality of life,” said Kerry Armstrong, ARC board chair.

For more details about ARC’s population estimates, check out the Regional Snapshot.

         Jurisdiction        2015        2016          Change 2015-2016
Atlanta Region 4,332,600 4,401,800 69,200
Cherokee 233,300 240,100 6,800
Clayton 266,900 270,600 3,700
Cobb 727,600 737,500 9,900
DeKalb 718,400 725,000 6,600
Douglas 137,400 139,000 1,600
Fayette 110,700 112,300 1,600
Fulton 970,400 985,700 15,300
Gwinnett 859,800 877,100 17,300
Henry 218,700 223,600 4,900
Rockdale 89,400 90,900 1,500
City of Atlanta 431,700 439,600 7,900

Under state law, ARC is required to estimate the population for the 10 ARC counties and the City of Atlanta each year for the purpose of collecting dues from its member jurisdictions. These population estimates are unofficial until adopted by the ARC Board at its meeting on Aug. 24.

ARC’s population estimates for major jurisdictions are developed using a combination of data sources including building permit data, a demographic accounting equation generated by Carl Vinson Institute of the University of Georgia, school enrollment trends, occupancy rates, and more. The base for each successive year’s estimates is the previous year’s estimate, with the starting point for the decade’s intracensal estimates the decennial census count.

*Under state law, ARC is required to calculate population estimates for the 10-county region. The jobs data is from the U.S. Department of Labor and includes the 26-county Metropolitan Statistical Area.

2016-10-12T11:06:54+00:00 August 11th, 2016|Research & Data|