The population of metro Atlanta has soared past the 4 million mark in 2016, thanks to a strong growth spurt in jobs in the aftermath of the Great Recession, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission.
The 10-county region added 69,200 new residents between April of last year and this April, with Atlanta accounting for a major share of that increase. Metro Atlanta is now home to 4,401,800 people. That is more people than 24 states in America.
The region’s population grew at a faster rate than at any time since the Great Recession, increasing by 1.6 percent, compared to 1.4 percent (60,300) a year earlier and 1.2 percent (52,700) in 2014.
The population increase is being fueled by strong employment growth. The 29-county Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) added nearly 77,000 jobs between May 2015 and May 2016, the fourth-highest total among the largest metros in the nation.
“As always, more jobs means more people,” said Mike Carnathan, manager of ARC’s Research & Analytics Division. “Newcomers are increasingly attracted to our region as our economy picks up steam, post-recession.”
While Gwinnett County led the way with a population increase of 17,300, the rate of growth in the city of Atlanta was particularly strong. Fueled by a surge in multi-family housing units, Atlanta added 7,900 new residents in the past year, compared to 4,800 last year.
Atlanta’s growth helped Fulton County add 15,300 new residents. Elsewhere in the metro region, Cobb County grew by 9,900.
Cherokee County added 6,800 people, DeKalb County 6,600, Henry County 4,900, Clayton County 3,700, Rockdale County 1,500, Douglas County 1,600 and Fayette County 1,600.
“These latest ARC population estimates show that the Atlanta region is resilient and continues to be a place of opportunity and a magnet for people seeking a high quality of life,” said Kerry Armstrong, chairman of the ARC board.