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Metro Atlanta Experiences Second-Highest Growth Since Great Recession, Adds 75,800 Residents in Past Year

Atlanta — Aug 22, 2018

The 10-county Atlanta region added 75,800 new residents between April 2017 and April 2018, according to a report released today by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Overall, the Atlanta region’s population increased by 1.7% and now stands at 4,555,900 –  more than that of 25 states.

Jobs growth fueled the region’s population boom. The 29-county Metropolitan Statistical Area added more than 41,000 jobs between April 2017 and April 2018, the ninth-most in the nation during that time.

“People are moving to metro Atlanta because of our strong, diverse economy and our great quality of life,” said Mike Carnathan, manager of ARC’s Research & Analytics Group. “We’re seeing growth across metro Atlanta.”

The fastest growth rates occurred in suburban Cherokee and Henry counties. The city of Atlanta continued its recent growth spurt, adding 10,100 people amid an ongoing boom in apartment and condo construction.

Each of the region’s 10 core counties experienced population growth during the past year. Fulton County led the way, adding 17,570 residents, followed by Gwinnett County (16,700), DeKalb County (10,630) Cobb County (8,000), Cherokee County (7,100), Henry County (5,800), Clayton County (4,500), Fayette County (2,200), Douglas County (1,900), and Rockdale County (1,800).

The city of Atlanta added 10,100 new residents from April 2017 to April 2018, compared to 9,900 the previous year, and 7,900 from 2015-2016.

Long-term trends show that the outer suburbs have led the region’s growth in recent years. Cherokee County, on the far north side, and Henry County, on the south side, grew the fastest at 19% and 15% respectively, between 2010 and 2018.

Growth has also been strong in the region’s core, including the city of Atlanta and DeKalb County. The city of Atlanta, which lost population between 1970 and 2000, is growing again amid a boom in multifamily housing. The city added 10,100 residents in the past year, compared to 9,700 the year before, and has grown by 9% since 2010.

“ARC’s annual population estimates are a great tool to help local governments plan for the future and focus the region’s attention on key issues critical to our quality of life, like housing affordability and transportation,” said Kerry Armstrong, ARC Board Chair.

ARC’s population estimates cover the 10-county region and city of Atlanta. The agency does not develop estimates for any other city in the region.

For more details about ARC’s population estimates, check out ARC’s latest Regional Snapshot.

Chart: Metro Atlanta year-over-year population growth

Chart: Population growth since 2010 by jurisdiction









Average Annual Change


Atlanta Region 4,107,750 4,480,100 4,555,900 75,800 56,019
Cherokee 214,346 247,400 254,500 7,100 5,019
Clayton 259,424 275,300 279,400 4,100 2,497
Cobb 688,078 750,300 758,300 8,000 8,778
DeKalb 691,893 733,900 744,530 10,630 6,580
Douglas 132,403 140,900 142,800 1,900 1,300
Fayette 106,567 114,000 116,200 2,200 1,204
Fulton 920,581 1,002,800 1,020,370 17,570 12,474
Gwinnett 805,321 894,000 910,700 16,700 13,172
Henry 203,922 229,000 234,800 5,800 3,860
Rockdale 85,215 92,500 94,300 1,800 1,136
City of Atlanta 420,003 449,500 459,600 10,100 4,950

Source: Atlanta Regional Commission

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 intercensal estimates the decennial Census count.

Note: ARC provides population estimates for the 10-county region and city of Atlanta. The agency does not develop estimates for any other city in the region.

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the official planning agency for the 10-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties as well as the City of Atlanta and 73 other cities. The Atlanta Regional Commission serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention and planning resources on key regional issues.

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