Forsyth County has long had one eye focused north on the nearby North Georgia Mountains and another south toward booming metro Atlanta.
It’s part of what makes this county of more than a quarter million residents, but it’s also a challenge for local business and civic leaders.
Earlier this month, Forsyth joined the Atlanta Regional Commission “family,” becoming ARC’s 11th member county.
Forsyth is known for its natural assets (think Lake Lanier, Georgia’s largest lake), green spaces, a top-rated school district, and its vibrant small-business culture.
Affectionately known as FoCo, the county was until recently more rural than urban.
Here we share some data dug up and analyzed by ARC that shed light on this dynamic corner of the Atlanta region.
It’s growing so fast!
Forsyth is the fastest-growing county in metro Atlanta.
This past decade, Forsyth grew at a more rapid clip, 43%, than any other metro Atlanta county, followed by Cherokee, which grew 24%, according to 2020 Census data.
From 2000 to 2019, Forsyth’s population grew from 98,407 to 228,383, a jaw-dropping increase of 132%. It’s also among the fastest-growing counties in the United States. According to data from Statista.com, Forsyth was the 11th fastest-growing county between 2010 and 2019, with its population growing 39% during that decade.
Growing more diverse, with a booming Asian population…
Forsyth’s population is 69% white, a decline from 92% in the year 2000. In 2010, it was 80% white.
As the county has become less white, its Asian population is growing at a rapid pace. Forsyth saw its Asian population quadruple between 2010 and 2020, to 45,203. Asians now represent 18% of Forsyth’s residents. Gwinnett comes closest to Forsyth in the share of Asian population, at 13%.
… but still less diverse than other metro Atlanta counties
Only 4% of Forsyth’s population is Black, lower than any other county in region. About 37% of the 11-county region’s population is Black.
ARC’s data gurus provide another way of looking at this, the ESRI 2020 Diversity index. Forsyth’s index is 45, lower than for any other county in the 11-county area, with the exception of Cherokee (Gwinnett has the most diversity, with an index of 80.5). The closer the index value is to 100, the more ethnically and racially diverse an area is. That is, the lower the index value, the lower the probability of “walking out the door” and encountering someone of another race.
Highly educated and affluent
Statewide, Forsyth has the greatest share of residents with a higher-ed degree. About 53% of Forsyth residents boast a bachelor’s degree or higher. And Forsyth leads all Georgia counties in median household income ($107,218). The median household income in the 11-county region is $70,106.
Working outside the county
Folks love to live in FoCo, but they leave the county for work. About 77% of Forsyth’s resident workforce works outside the county (up from 73% in 2010), above the 11-county average of 65%, Census Bureau data on worker flows show.
For more data on Forsyth County, visit our 33n blog.
What’s Next ATL, produced by the Atlanta Regional Commission, is a community resource that explores how metro Atlanta is growing and changing, and how the region is addressing its most pressing challenges.