Metro Atlanta’s population grows as residents seek jobs, amenities


Drawn by job opportunities, a reasonable cost of living and warm weather, hundreds of thousands of people moved to metro Atlanta in the last five years, increasing the region’s population to 5.7 million, according to U.S. Census estimates.

Of the 424,000 residents added since 2010, more than half moved here, while the rest of the 8 percent population boom was driven by births greatly outpacing deaths. The region remained the nation’s ninth-largest metropolitan area.

Last year, the region’s growth was third highest of any area in the country, trailing only Houston and Dallas. Metro Atlanta, which the Census defines as stretching from the Alabama border to the outskirts of Athens, expanded by more than 95,000 people from 2014 to 2015.

The numbers highlight the appeal of living in the Atlanta area, said Mike Carnathan, the manager of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Research and Analytics Division.

“Metro Atlanta has a lot going for it,” Carnathan said. “What it shows you is that metropolitan Atlanta is a desirable place to move to, whether for jobs or the climate, amenities or location.”

Particularly jobs, said Lakshmi Pandley, a senior research associate for Georgia State University’s Fiscal Research Center.

“Migration to Atlanta was pretty much minimal during the recession because people didn’t think there were jobs, but after the recession, it has gone up.”

Within the region, the core counties gained the most residents.

Fulton became Georgia’s first county to cross the 1-million-resident mark last year, but Gwinnett has added slightly more people — about 90,500 — since 2010, an 11 percent increase. Gwinnett’s total population was nearly 896,000 in 2015, and a recent forecast indicated it’s expected to pass Fulton by 2040.

“We’re seeing much more urban revitalization and growth in the central metro counties,” said Matt Hauer, the head of the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute’s Applied Demography Program. “There’s a limit to the sprawl, and you’ll see much more rebound in the urban areas.”

But other suburbs have been growing as well, in some cases quicker than their urban neighbors.

Forsyth County was the 11th-fastest growing county nationwide from 2010 to 2015, increasing its population by 21 percent to more than 212,000 residents.

The Atlanta area has gained a reputation as an ever-changing international city, with attractions that impress visitors and market the city to businesses, said William Pate, the CEO of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.

In recent years, the city has added the Center for Civil and Human Rights, the Georgia Aquarium and the College Football Hall of Fame. Soon, it will have two new pro team stadiums to accompany ongoing residential and business development.

“It’s very vibrant, and that’s what people are looking for,” Pate said. “Companies are interested in moving here, and younger people as they leave college are moving here.”

Nationwide, cities in the southern United States experienced the largest population increases last year, said Yesenia Acosta, a statistician for the U.S. Census. Seven of the 10 metro areas that gained the most new residents were in southern states.


Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Georgia Politics

Georgia lawmakers want to pay you to move to the country
Georgia lawmakers want to pay you to move to the country

Georgia legislators are considering giving generous tax breaks to individuals and families who move to rural areas. The combination of state income tax incentives and local property tax discounts could be worth tens of thousands of dollars over the years for anyone who chooses country living. The relocation payments are meant to repopulate rural...
Republicans say they have a deal on tax bill
Republicans say they have a deal on tax bill

WASHINGTON — House and Senate Republicans reached an agreement, in principle, on a consensus tax bill Wednesday, keeping the party on track for final votes next week with the aim of delivering a bill to President Donald Trump’s desk by Christmas, according to people briefed on the deal. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the majority whip, told...
Trump sends tweet about female senator that critics say is sexually suggestive, demeaning
Trump sends tweet about female senator that critics say is sexually suggestive, demeaning

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump attacked Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., in a sexually suggestive tweet Tuesday morning that implied Gillibrand would do just about anything for money, prompting an immediate backlash. "Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Charles E. Schumer and someone who would come to my office...
In Alabama, the left wonders if there can even be a winner
In Alabama, the left wonders if there can even be a winner

What is the race for the Alabama Senate seat really about? A roundup of editorials Tuesday takes a look at the issue. From The New York Times: The race isn’t necessarily between Roy Moore and Doug Jones. From ABC: If we gather in our own tribes can we ever get to a consensus on anything? From St. Louis Post Dispatch: What would be next? Firing...
Is the price for a vote in the Senate one the right wants to pay?
Is the price for a vote in the Senate one the right wants to pay?

Election Day is here, and we have to look at the cost of Roy Moore as a United States senator. A roundup of editorials Tuesday takes a look at the issue. From Newsmax: The RNC is trading its soul for a vote in the Senate. From The National Review: Alabamians, Moore has done nothing to earn your vote. From al.com: Will Alabama be remembered as a place...
More Stories