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Report: Metro Atlanta just logged second highest growth year since Great Recession

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Some studies, however, suggest the Atlanta Regional Commission’s new 4.6 million tally is too conservative

A photo of bad traffic in downtown Atlanta at evening.
The inspiration for the oft-repeated phrase, “Go home. We’re full.”
Atlanta Regional Commission

If you build it, they will come. Or was it the other way around?

In metro Atlanta, at least, both seem to be true.

Amidst a boom of multifamily housing development, transportation infrastructure improvements, and job creation, people seem to be flocking to the metro Atlanta region en masse.

That’s according to a recent Atlanta Regional Commission report, which shows that, between April 2017 and April 2018, the metro area experienced its second highest growth period since the Great Recession.

Per the report, metro Atlanta—at least the 10-county chunk assessed in ARC’s research—now boasts a population of almost 4.6 million people. That’s a nearly 2 percent leap since last year’s tally.

Fulton County witnessed the largest uptick in people, clocking a 17,570-head increase.

The City of Atlanta, however, welcomed most of those new residents (10,100) during the period studied, bringing the intown population to about 460,000—nearly 10 percent higher than in 2010.

Naturally, with the headcount uptick has come increased intown density.

But the fastest population growth spurts, relatively speaking, happened in the smaller Cherokee and Henry counties, which spiked by 7,100 and 5,800 respectively.

Job creation has certainly helped perpetuate this influx of people.

“The 29-county Metropolitan Statistical Area added more than 41,000 jobs between April 2017 and April 2018, the ninth-most in the nation during that time,” according to ARC’s press release.

But some population studies suggest ARC’s research is underestimating metro Atlanta’s true headcount.

The U.S. Census, for example, counts all 29 counties in the aforementioned MSA, estimating that nearly 6 million people make up the Atlanta region, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report from last year.

ARC’s study leaves out major metro counties, such as Hall and Forsyth, which haven’t exactly been idle.

And although the city and state are working to expand mass transportation options and speed up traffic, longtime Atlantans can see what this increase in people—*cough,* drivers—is doing to the highways.