2020 Census: Georgia’s minority populations have surged

In all, Georgia’s population jumped by 10% to 10.7 million between 2010 and 2020, adding about 1 million people but failing to pick up another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

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In all, Georgia’s population jumped by 10% to 10.7 million between 2010 and 2020, adding about 1 million people but failing to pick up another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Figures will help guide hundreds of billions of dollars in government spending

Georgia grew substantially more diverse over the last 10 years as its Black, Hispanic and Asian populations surged and as its number of white residents dropped slightly, according to a trove of new 2020 U.S. Census data released Thursday.

Statewide, the number of Black Georgians increased by 13%, while the white population dropped by 1%. Meanwhile, the state’s Asian population jumped by 53% and its Hispanic population increased by 32%. The Peach State narrowly remained majority white at just over 50%.

The four largest Atlanta-area counties of Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett each grew by more than 10%.

In all, Georgia’s population jumped by 10% to 10.7 million between 2010 and 2020, adding about 1 million people but failing to pick up another seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sixty-seven of Georgia’s 159 counties — most of them smaller and rural — lost population, part of a nationwide trend.

The United States grew by 7.4% between 2010 and 2020 to 331.4 million, the second smallest rate of growth in its history. The South grew the fastest over the last decade at 10.2%.

The new numbers will help the government decide where to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds for hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads and other services. Companies will study the figures when deciding where to build new factories and stores.

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At the same time, Georgia lawmakers will use the data to redraw state and congressional legislative districts, ensuring each has an equal number of constituents as the state’s population has grown, especially in metropolitan areas.

ExploreCensus 2020: Georgia’s growth and diversity set stage for redistricting fight

Republicans control the state Legislature, so they have the authority to decide where to set political boundaries during a special session this fall. GOP lawmakers will draw maps that seek to entrench their majorities in Congress, the state House and the state Senate, while Democrats will attempt to stop them. The courts have upheld drawing districts for political purposes, meaning Republicans hold the power to determine which maps become law for the next 10 years.

During public meetings across the state, residents and advocacy groups have urged legislators to avoid gerrymandering, drawing oddly shaped districts that divide communities and reduce competition in elections. But in past redistricting years, the majority party, whether Republican or Democrat, has divvied up the state to maximize its number of seats.

The coronavirus pandemic delayed the Census Bureau’s work for months. The count drew more attention when the Trump administration tried to add a citizenship question to the census form, a move blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ron Jarmin, the bureau’s acting director, addressed the data’s accuracy Thursday, saying the government has “conducted one of the most comprehensive reviews in recent census history.”

“The data we are releasing today meet our high data quality standards and I am proud to present them to the American public,” he said.


MORE DETAILS

Georgia’s population has reached 10.7 million, gaining a million new residents from 2010 to 2020.

But for the first time since 1990, the state will not add a congressional seat, as population growth slowed from the pace of the previous two decades.

The United States grew by 7.4% between 2010 and 2020 to 331.4 million, the second smallest rate of growth in its history.

ExploreMore news about the 2020 decennial census in Georgia