July 10, 2019 Atlanta : Construction underway on The Interlock, a $450 million mixed-use development in West Midtown. Metro Atlanta added 72,500 people in the past year, according to Atlanta Regional Commission estimates released Wednesday. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

Metro Atlanta adds 72,500 people, boosting population to 4.6 million

Metro Atlanta added 72,500 people in the past year, growth that boosted the region’s population to 4.6 million but is at a slightly slower rate than in the previous two years, according to estimates released Wednesday.

Fulton, the region’s biggest county, added the most at 16,700, the largest single-year growth in the region. Gwinnett grew by 15,100; DeKalb, 8,500; and Cobb, 8,100, the Atlanta Regional Commission said.

Meanwhile, Cherokee and Henry counties saw the top two growth rates at 3.2% and 2.5%, respectively. Cherokee added 8,200 people, outpacing Cobb County for the first time. Henry grew by 6,100, its biggest annual increase this decade. Both counties have doubled their populations since 2000.

Driven, in part, by a surge in multifamily housing, Atlanta’s population added 10,900 residents, pushing its total to 470,000.

The 10-county region’s 1.6% growth is slightly down from the 1.7% rate in 2018 and 1.8% in 2017.

Several factors could be at play. For example, the flow of people entering the metro Atlanta job market has been slowing. Nearly two dozen cities — including Charlotte, Nashville and Phoenix — have pulled ahead of Atlanta in attracting newcomers.

In-Depth: Atlanta slips in attracting newcomers as domestic migration slows

More: Metro Atlanta jobless rate drops to 3.5% in July

“The Atlanta region’s growth remains strong, driven by our diverse economy and great quality of life,” Doug Hooker, the ARC’s executive director, said in a prepared statement. “But to ensure our region’s future success, we must continue to invest in our region’s infrastructure and tackle key issues like housing affordability and equity.”

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