From its humble beginnings as a railroad terminus, metro Atlanta has grown to become one of the nation’s largest, most dynamic regions – and a major player on the global stage. The region is growing fast, with a population that is rapidly diversifying.
This vibrant region is the economic capital of the Southeast and boasts world-class universities, the world’s most-traveled airport and a lively arts and culture scene. Metro Atlanta is also known for its warm hospitality, temperate climate and vast tree canopy – it’s a region in a forest.
Notable landmarks include the Georgia state Capitol, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, Stone Mountain Park, and the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.
The Atlanta region includes Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties, and the city of Atlanta.
ARC 2021 Annual Report - Atlanta Region
Atlanta Region Continues to Grow
Metro Atlanta added nearly 64,000 people in the past year, bringing the 10-county region's total population to 4.7 million. (NOTE: These population estimates were made by ARC before the addition of Forsyth County in July 2021 and are limited to 10 counties).
Although the amount of growth for the region has slowed, 1.37% increase in population from 2019 to 2020 compared to 1.59% in 2018 to 2019, the region has still added 585,000 people overall in the past decade, according to Atlanta Regional Commission's latest population estimates.
According to ARC's population forecasts, the 10-county region will add more than 2.9 million people by 2050, bringing the population to 8.6 million.
The region’s older adult population is growing rapidly as people live longer and the Baby Boom generation ages. By 2050, ARC forecasts the number of residents that are age 75 and over will grow to 12%, totaling just over 1 million people.
At the same time, the Atlanta region is becoming increasingly diverse. A majority of the population – nearly 70 percent – is now made up of racial and ethnic minority groups, a figure that is expected to increase over time.
Metro Atlanta 21-County Dashboard
Some ARC planning covers a 21-county region. Our agency developed an interactive dashboard covering the 21 counties and provides information on population and employment to health and education.
Metro Atlanta's Economy Highly Diverse
The region is home to a number of Fortune 500 companies and other large employers, such as Delta Air Lines, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, UPS, AT&T, and the Centers for Disease Control.
Metro Atlanta is one of the nation's most important logistics hubs and boasts a growing technology sector. The region has also become one of the nation's top spots for film and video production.
The Atlanta region is expected to add more than 1.2 million jobs by 2050. The top employment sectors in 2050 will be health care, retail, education and professional and scientific.
Metro Atlanta Speaks
Each year, ARC and its community partners conduct the Metro Atlanta Speaks public opinion survey to take the pulse of metro Atlanta residents and help guide the region’s planning and decision-making.
The survey, which began in 2013, is the largest of its kind the Atlanta region. It offers a snapshot of residents’ views on a range of critical issues, such as transportation, the economy, education, aging and neighborhood quality of life.
Metro Atlanta Speaks covers a 13-county region and is statistically significant to the county level, as well as for the City of Atlanta.