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County's growth slowing
Gwinnett only added about 4,500

LAWRENCEVILLE - Metro Atlanta's growth slowed to a crawl this year, with the region hitting its smallest one-year population growth since statistics began in 1990.

Gwinnett's population grew by only 4,500 between April 1, 2008, and April 1, 2009, even though the county averaged gains of nearly five times that many - more than 21,000 new residents each year - for the last three decades, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Despite the slow down, Gwinnett still had the second-highest influx in the 10-county region. Fulton County topped the list at 6,400, and officials said the city of Atlanta accounted for 14 percent of the region's total growth over the past year. The state's capital grew by 3,400 - less than half the 7,600 residents added each year for the past decade.

"We're definitely seeing the impact of the recession," ARC Research Division Chief Mike Alexander said of the slow down. "We experienced slower growth in all 10 counties and in the city of Atlanta. Even so, Atlanta continues to lead the region's growth."

While the 10-county area averaged more than 77,000 new residents each year since 2000, only about 24,700 moved in between April 1, 2008 and April 1, 2009, the commission announced.

"Given the national housing market downturn, population growth slowed dramatically here between 2008 and 2009, as it did in many areas of the nation," Alexander said. "ARC's latest regional population estimate graphically illustrates the local impact of this national recession."

According to the release, the April 2009 population estimate for metro Atlanta is now 4,124,300, which is larger than the population of 24 states.