More blacks moving to state
New census estimates released

LAWRENCEVILLE - Of the more than 200,000 new Georgia residents in the past year, non-Hispanic black residents posted the highest gain in the state.

There are 77,331 new non-Hispanic black Georgians from 2006 to 2007, according to Census estimates released today, while the number of new Hispanic residents is 49,110. There are 57,103 new non-Hispanic whites in the state.

Mike Carnathan, a researcher for the Atlanta Regional Commission, said those statewide numbers mirror the region's. In addition to relatively low housing prices and a good climate, Carnathan said the number of jobs in Georgia is what draws people to the state.

"Economic opportunity is why anybody moves anywhere," he said. "There are a lot of economic opportunities in all kinds of sectors."

Carnathan said that Georgia's black population has one of the highest educational attainments in the country, perhaps one of the reasons so many black residents are choosing to call the area home.

With just 28 percent of the state's new residents white - when white Hispanics are included, that number is 50 percent of last year's increase - Carnathan said Georgia is headed toward becoming majority-minority, where a majority of the state's residents are a minority, if population trends continue.

But already, he said, the growth appears to be slowing. Thirty percent fewer building permits have been issued so far this year, and Carnathan said he expects the Census to indicate the slowing growth next year. Today's numbers show the number of new residents to the state from July 1, 2006 to July 1, 2007.

In all, 202,670 new residents call the state home. That puts Georgia's population at 9.5 million people, according to Census data.