Gwinnett County Leads Atlanta Region’s Growth, Adds 17,300 Residents

ATLANTA – Gwinnett County added 17,300 residents between April 2015 and April 2016, according to the latest annual population estimates from the Atlanta Regional Commission.

That’s an increase from last year, when the county added 15,700 residents.

While Fulton County remains the largest county in metro Atlanta, Gwinnett continues to close the gap, adding 2,000 more people than Fulton during the past year.

The 10-county Atlanta region’s population grew at a faster rate than at any time since the Great Recession, increasing by 1.6 percent (69,200) compared to 1.4 percent (60,300) a year earlier and 1.2 percent (52,700) in 2014. The region is now home to 4,401,800 people, a larger population than that of 24 states.

The population increase is being fueled by strong employment growth. The 29-county Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) region added nearly 77,000 jobs between May 2015 and May 2016, the third-highest total among the largest metros in the nation.

“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.”

Each of the region’s 10 core counties experienced population growth during the year. Gwinnett County led the way, adding 17,300 residents. Fulton County added 15,300 people, while Cobb County grew by 9,900.

Cherokee County added 6,800 people, DeKalb County 6,600, Henry County 4,900, Clayton County 3,700, Rockdale County 1,500, Douglas County 1,600 and Fayette County 1,600.

The City of Atlanta, fueled by a surge in multi-family housing units, added 7,900 new residents in the past year, compared to 4,800 last year.

“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.

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 monthly meeting on August 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.



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