Metro Atlanta’s Population Keeps Growing

The Atlanta region continues to attract newcomers.

Despite inflation and surging home prices, the job market remains robust. And this means more folks are calling metro Atlanta home.

The 11-county region added 65,000 new residents from April 2021 to April 2022, according to ARC’s 2022 population estimates. This may not seem like much, but it is roughly equivalent to adding another Alpharetta to the mix.

Year over year, the population boost equals a 1.3% increase, slightly ahead of the 1.2% gain in 2020-2021, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Let’s take a look at what growth looks like in our region.

Where is the growth?

Each of metro Atlanta’s 11 counties saw an influx of newcomers, with the region’s population surging to just shy of 5.1 million, a record. The City of Atlanta added 5,070 new residents, a bounce-back from the previous year.

More people moved to Gwinnett than to any other county. Gwinnett added 13,460 new residents (the county is now just 16,000 shy of 1 million residents).

Following Gwinnett, the core counties of Fulton and Cobb attracted the most people. Fulton added 11,200, while Cobb gained 6,900.

The outer counties, however, grew at faster rates than the metro core. At 2.7% , Henry grew faster than any metro county. Forsyth grew by 2.6%, and Cherokee by 2.5%.

How does this stack up with the past few decades?

When we look at recent history, though, metro Atlanta’s growth pace is cooling down. In the 2010s, average annual population growth was 68,425.

From 1990 to 2000, metro Atlanta’s average annual growth was a whopping 92,590, dropping to 75,548 average annual increase during the 2000s.

What’s behind the growth?

A strong job market is driving gains in population. Metro Atlanta had the second highest 2021-2022 rate of job growth in the nation among large metro areas, at 6.7%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Tikina Trigg, a hairstylist, moved from Tennessee to start a business in Gwinnett County. “I came because I wanted a change. I came because of the people. I have family here,” Trigg told Channel 11 recently. “You have great economic opportunities.”

What other signs point to growth?

Residential housing permits were up by 4,500 for the metro region in 2021, according to the ARC population estimates. These permits are a key data point in assessing how many people are moving to our region.

In 2021, there were slightly over 27,000 residential building permits issued in the 11-county region.

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.