ARC: Atlanta area adds nearly 80,000 in past year

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ARC: Atlanta area adds nearly 80,000 in past year

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The 10-county Atlanta area added nearly 80,000 people from April 2016 to April 2017, the Atlanta Regional Commission said Thursday. The fastest growth rates were in Cherokee and Henry counties and in the city of Atlanta, while Fulton and Gwinnett counties saw the largest overall population gains. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

The 10-county Atlanta region grew by more than 78,000 people in the past year, fueled in large part by a surge in new jobs, according to data released Thursday by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Some 4.48 million people now call the core counties of the Atlanta region their home, the ARC said. The highest rates of growth occurred in suburban counties, including Cherokee and Henry, and the city of Atlanta saw its growth accelerate as well.

The overall metro growth rate of 1.8 percent was the fastest rate the region has seen since the Great Recession. Since 2010, the 10-county area has grown by 8.3 percent or more than 372,000 residents.

“Metro Atlanta offers a world-class quality of life along with one of the nation’s best business environments,” Kerry Armstrong, ARC board chairman, said in a release accompanying the report. “It’s a winning combination that has fueled tremendous growth in recent years.”

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The nearly 80,000 people added from April 2016 to April 2017 is reminiscent of the annual rates of growth of 1990s and 2000s, the ARC said, after a decade that has seen a slower pace of population gains due in large part to the economic downturn.

Every county and the city of Atlanta added more residents in the 12 months ended in April than their average annual rate of growth since 2010. The city of Atlanta, which added an estimated 9,900 residents in the past year, more than doubled its running average annual growth rate of 4,214 in that time.

Atlanta area's population growth

Population numbers from The Atlanta Regional Commission. By Stephanie Lamm/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“The economy is doing great and the population is following,” Mike Carnathan, manager of the ARC’s research and analytics group, said in an interview.

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The 29-county metro Atlanta region, which the Census lists at nearly 5.8 million in 2016, saw the second-highest rate of job growth in the nation behind only the Dallas-Fort Worth area during the 12 months ended in April.

The city of Atlanta had its strongest year of population growth since the Great Recession, Carnathan said, amid a boom in jobs and apartment construction.

Fulton saw the largest net increase in residents since 2016 with 17,100, followed by Gwinnett (16,900) and Cobb (12,800).

Cherokee (3 percent), Henry (2.4 percent) and the city of Atlanta (2.3 percent) had the highest rates of population growth.

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10-County population growth

Residents added since 2016

Atlanta region: 78,300

Cherokee: 7,300

Clayton: 4,700

Cobb: 12,800

DeKalb: 8,900

Douglas: 1,900

Fayette: 1,700

Fulton: 17,100

Gwinnett: 16,900

Henry: 5,400

Rockdale: 1,600

Atlanta: 9,900

Source: Atlanta Regional Commission

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