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Metro Atlanta’s population hits 5.1 million

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All of metro Atlanta’s 11 counties saw an increase in population this year, pushing the metro area’s total population to 5.1 million people.

In total, the metro Atlanta region added 64,940 new residents in the past year, a 1.3% increase, according to 2021-2022 population estimates released today by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

This population estimate is for the 12 months ending in April 2022.

This year’s gains exceeded last year’s slightly.

Each of metro Atlanta’s 11 counties saw population increases in the past year, with Gwinnett adding 13,460 new residents, more than any other county. The next three counties with the most growth were Fulton with 11,200; Cobb with 6,900; and Cherokee with 6,890. The strongest growth on a percentage basis was on the outer counties of Henry, Forsyth and Cherokee.

The City of Atlanta added 5,070 new residents between 2021 and 2022, bouncing back from a lower gain of 3,230 the previous year.

“We are clearly recovering from the initial shock of the pandemic in 2020,” said Anna Roach, Executive Director of ARC. “These population gains are encouraging, and they are a testament to the quality of life metro Atlanta offers. As we look to the future, we must continue to work on housing affordability, access to transit, transportation infrastructure, and other critical issues so that we foster a region where everyone thrives.”

Annual regional population growth, however, still trails the average annual increase metro Atlanta experienced in the 2010s.

Driving this year’s higher population gains in metro Atlanta are relatively strong increases in building permits and a fuller recovery from pandemic-driven job losses. Metro Atlanta had the second highest rate of job growth in the nation among large metro areas, at 6.7%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The population growth reflects strong permit activity for both single-family and multifamily homes across the region, compared to the previous year. In 2021, there were 27,164 new residential building permits issued in the 11-county region, an increase of over 4,500 permits over the calendar year 2020. Permit activity, however, remains below pre-pandemic, and far below prerecession, levels.


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