ARC: Atlanta gains more residents in year than decade; no housing news

By David Pendered

The city of Atlanta added more residents in the past year than it did during the entire first decade of the 2000s, according to an unofficial report from the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Neighborhood festivals such as the Chomp and Stomp in Cabbagetown help attract young professionals to intown neighborhoods. Credit: drinkdinediscover.files.wordpress.com

Neighborhood festivals such as the Chomp and Stomp in Cabbagetown help attract young professionals to intown neighborhoods. Credit: drinkdinediscover.files.wordpress.com

Atlanta’s gain of 4,100 residents was part of a 10-county population increase of 52,700, calculated from 2013 to 2014. ARC planners said in a statement the increase is a, “sure sign that the economic recovery is continuing.”

ARC’s latest report does not examine the housing supply or construction industry. The city of Atlanta had a glut of housing after the last decade, with more than 37,000 units added to serve a city population that rose by 3,500 residents, according to an ARC report from April 2011.

Atlanta had a citywide vacancy rate of almost 18 percent in 2010. That compares to 10 percent vacancy in 2000, according to the ARC report in 2011 that determined, “some areas on the west side of Atlanta have 2010 vacancy rates of near 50 percent.”

Region-wide, multifamily is now a major component of the construction industry and more than 8,000 units are underway, according to a report Tuesday by bisnow.com. In addition, more than 8,000 units are proposed, bisnow.com reported, attributing figures to Haddow & Co.

Atlanta added 4,100 residents in the past year and added 3,529 during from 2000 to 2010, according to the ARC’s report in April 2011.

The ARC’s latest population estimate is unofficial only because it has not yet been approved by ARC’s board of directors. The board is expected to adopt the report at its Aug. 27 meeting.

Metro Atlanta's 10-county region added more than 52,000 residents in a year, which the Atlanta Regional Commission interprets as a good sign for the area's recovery from the recession. Click on the image for a larger version. Credit: ARC

Metro Atlanta’s 10-county region added more than 52,000 residents in a year, which the Atlanta Regional Commission interprets as a good sign for the area’s recovery from the recession. Click on the image for a larger version. Credit: ARC

The new snapshot shows the region’s population gain is about half of what it during the region’s boom years of the late 20th century and first decade of the 21st century. The region was adding about 100,000 persons a year during some of that period, according to a back-of-the-envelope calculation.

For example, just over 1 million individuals moved into the 20-county region in the decade from 2000 to 2010, according to the ARC. The growth rate for the region that’s associated with that figure is 24.4 percent.

Still, the 52,700 additional residents who arrived most recently are significant in an economy where many homeowners are stuck in mortgages and unable to relocate. For whatever their reason, individuals are making the choice to seek their future in metro Atlanta.

“The Atlanta region’s job growth is on the rise,” Mike Alexander, manager of ARC’s Research & Analytics Division, said in a statement. “Because the Atlanta region is an attractive place for employers and employees, we tend to attract people from all over the country, creating more in-migration than out-migration.”

According to the ARC statement:

  • “While not as robust as growth during the boom years of the 1990s and early 2000s, this growth is greater than last year’s, and puts the region’s total population at 4,272,300, a number that is larger than the populations of 24 states.”

The statement provided this interpretation of the population report:

  • “Gwinnett County, long a growth leader in the region, grew the fastest at a rate of 1.9 percent. Gwinnett added a total of 11,900 new residents. Fulton County, the largest in metro Atlanta, added the most, with 12,700 new residents, a growth rate of 1.3 percent. Gwinnett and Fulton’s population increase was followed by Cobb (9,600) and DeKalb (6,300) counties.
  • “All 10 counties experienced growth during the year. Cherokee County added 4,200, Henry County 3,200, Douglas County 1,300, Fayette County 1,300, Rockdale County 1,200 and Clayton County 1,000.  The City of Atlanta’s growth trend also continued, with the city adding 4,100 people, driven in large part by new multi-family developments and an influx of young professionals.”

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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