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Rural Georgia emptying; state power liable to shift north

New U.S. Census data shows how much more Georgia residents are concentrating around metro Atlanta now than they were 10 years ago. Consolidation might be in the future for rural Georgia’s congressional or state legislative districts.

There are about a million more Georgians now than there were 10 years ago. Or, according to key Census figures published Wednesday, a population of 10,711,908 now versus 9,687,653 folks in 2010.

But growth of more than 10 percent still wasn’t enough to justify a new member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia. So there will still be 14 representatives, now representing a population that’s much more likely to live above Interstate 20 than just a decade ago.

And that’s the conundrum that will face the GOP-controlled state legislature this year as it redraws political boundaries: every Georgia House, Senate and congressional district has to have the same number of adults.

But it would take Georgia’s 85 least-populous counties just to add up to the whopping 1.07 million people now living in Fulton County alone.

Indeed, 67 of Georgia’s 159 counties lost population between 2010 and 2020. For some counties, like Candler, the drop is less than a percent, almost a rounding error: 10,998 in 2010 and 10,981 now.

But in others, population decline is drastic. Both Dooley and Telfair counties lost about a quarter of their populations. About 4,000 people apiece.

Or in metro Atlanta terms, one big subdivision.

Data Sources: U.S. Census P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data from 2010 and 2020.

Download data as .csv

 

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Maggie Lee

Maggie Lee is a freelance reporter who's been covering Georgia and metro Atlanta government and politics since 2008.

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