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Population projections: Metro Atlanta to swell to 8.6M, become more diverse by 2050

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Yet again, “We full” has been shown to be inaccurate, or wishful thinking

A line graph showing atlanta’s expected population growth in the next 30 years.
Images courtesy of ARC

Forecasters say we ain’t full. Not even close.

By 2050, metro Atlanta is projected to swell by nearly 3 more million people, boosting the 21-county region’s population to 8.6 million, according to forecasts recently published by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

For context, that additional population in the next 30 years is roughly equivalent (gulp) to today’s metro Denver, or a little more than metro Charlotte.

Additionally, the research shows, the metro area is on track to become “much more racially and ethnically diverse,” per an ARC analysis.

The region’s white population is anticipated to drop from 47.5 percent in 2015 to just 31 percent in 2050.

“The share of Hispanic residents will reach 21 percent in 2050, up from 12 percent in 2015, while the share of black residents will remain steady at about 33 percent,” the report says. “The share of Asians and residents of other race and ethnic backgrounds is forecast to increase to 14 percent, compared to 8 percent in 2015.”

The biggest population booms are expected to occur around intown Atlanta, the northern suburbs along Interstate 75, 85, and Ga. Highway 400 corridors, and near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

In a surprising shift, Gwinnett County is expected to become the most populous county with 1.48 million people, stealing the title from Fulton County, which had about 1.05 million as of 2018 estimates.

Forecasters believe Forsyth County, though, will grow the fastest by 2050, more than doubling in headcount. Henry County is expected to follow with a growth rate of 70 percent.

It also looks like the elderly population is due for an upswing; the share of residents age 75 and older could triple over the next three decades, to 12 percent—about a million people.