ARC report: Metro Atlanta packed on 63K more people in past year

ARC report: Metro Atlanta packed on 63K more people in past year

Despite a slowdown in housing construction as prices have ballooned, all of the Atlanta region’s core counties have seen population upticks over the past year, but each of them has lagged the City of Atlanta in terms of growth rate.

That’s according to the Atlanta Regional Commission’s official 2024 population estimate released today, which indicates the metro’s strongest growth over the past year came in outer suburbs and within city limits of the capital.

According to ARC estimates, Atlanta’s 11-county metro added 62,700 residents over the year prior to April, for a total population of 5.2 million. (Note: The US Census Bureau defines metro Atlanta as 29 counties with a population of 6.3 million, now good for sixth largest in the nation.)

The city of Atlanta grew by another 2.1 percent over the past year, adding 10,800 people. That number marks the second year in a row the city proper has led the metro in growth rates—but it also marked a slowdown in population uptick compared to 2022-2023, when an estimated 14,300 new people moved into the city or were born here.

In terms of growth rates, the City of Atlanta was followed by Cherokee County (1.9 percent, with 5,400 additional people) and Henry County (1.8 percent; 4,750 people).

Atlanta proper also finished atop the regional list in number of building permits issued—7,621—over the past year. Eighty-five percent of those permits were for multifamily housing units, ARC officials note.

Gwinnett County saw the second-most permits issued, with 5,423.

Midtown’s high-rise growth spurt—shown here about seven years ago—continues today. Shutterstock

Statistics like those that could be a Rust Belt city’s dream, but ARC’s estimates generally reflect a moderate slowdown for metro Atlanta’s growth compared to the previous year, when nearly 67,000 new residents were logged.

Residential building permits dipped by 21 percent to 28,595 permits—or nearly 7,500 fewer permits than the previous year—across the 11 counties studied. According to ARC, that’s lower than pre-Great Recession permit numbers and now below the annual average (33,430) between 1980 and 2023.

According to ARC officials, a “slight moderation in job growth” and significantly higher housing prices are culprits.

On the bright side, analysts deem the region’s economy relatively strong. Across the metro, the job employment base has swelled by 6.4 percent since the early days of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. That’s good for seventh in the nation among peer metros, with only Austin, Dallas, Las Vegas, Orlando, Houston, and Miami showing stronger job growth, per ARC officials.

In terms of sheer numbers on a county level, Fulton County added the most new residents (17,400, with Atlanta factored in), followed by Gwinnett (14,900), Cobb (6,700), and Cherokee (5,400) counties.

Another milestone came in Gwinnett, where the population topped one million for the first time, now totaling 1,012,112.

“People from around the country are choosing metro Atlanta because of our great quality of life and our dynamic, diverse economy,” Andre Dickens, Atlanta mayor and ARC board chair, said in today’s announcement. “Of course, our continued growth is not guaranteed. We must continue to invest in our region’s infrastructure to ensure a successful future.”

Atlanta Regional Commission

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