Driving this year's higher population gains in metro Atlanta are relatively strong increases in building permits and a fuller recovery from pandemic-driven job losses. Metro Atlanta had the second highest rate of job growth in the nation among large metro areas, at 6.7%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The population growth reflects strong permit activity for both single-family and multifamily homes across the region, compared to the previous year. In 2021, there were 27,164 new residential building permits issues in the 11-county region, an increase of over 4,500 permits over the calendar year 2020. Permit activity, however, remains below pre-pandemic, and far below pre-recession, levels.
2020 decennial Census estimates are the basis for ARC's intercensal estimates for this decade so far (e.g., 2021 and 2022). Change in building permits by type over time is the core variable used to estimate population growth, year to year. The change predicted in 2020-2021 becomes a "starting point" for the 2021-2022 estimate. Occupancy rates and household sizes are also considered in developing annual estimates.
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the official planning agency for the 11-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties, as well as the City of Atlanta and 74 other cities. The Atlanta Regional Commission serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention and planning resources on key regional issues.