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Gwinnett again leads Atlanta region in growth

LAWRENCEVILLE -- While the number of new residents is a fraction of what it used to be, Gwinnett County still leads the 10-county metro region in growth, statistics released by the Atlanta Regional Commission Thursday show.

The estimate finds that 9,000 of the 37,200 who were added to the region between April 1, 2011 and April 1, 2012 were added in Gwinnett.

"We see population growth as a mixed blessing," said Gwinnett Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, who served as county administrator during periods of high growth. "It is good from the standpoint that it indicates people see Gwinnett as a good place to be, whether they are making decisions to move here or to stay here. However, growth is a challenge since it means that we must provide services to more residents despite shrinking revenues."

The pace is much slower than in the 1980s and 1990s and early 2000s, when the suburbs and specifically Gwinnett were among the fastest growing areas of the nation, but leaders said the numbers are still encouraging.

"While this growth is certainly slower than what we became accustomed to in the 90s and 2000s, this pace is laudable in the face of the economic pressures we face," ARC Executive Director Doug Hooker said, adding that the pace slowed four years ago with the economic recession. "This blip in our growth pattern allows the region and our local governments to catch our collective breaths and prepare for the return of more typical growth."

According to the U.S. Census the 28-county metropolitan statistical area of Atlanta area ranked third in overall growth between 2000 and 2010, adding more than 1 million people. But estimates slowed from the nearly 100,000 people per year added to the 10-county grouping. In the last two years combined, the area added 72,000 people.

Nash also noted that the ARC estimate for 2012 is just below the Census estimate for 2011, showing the population rates are hard to predict. For planning purposes, county officials use a number that is between the two estimates, she said.

"People just don't move as much when the economy is slow," said Mike Alexander, chief of ARC's Research Division. "And, considering that this recession started in the housing market and crippled that industry, property values have declined. That means fewer people are able to sell their homes and move to a different metro area."

Just last week, Gwinnett County Public Schools officials predicted the lowest student population growth number expected in decades, just 250 more expected this school year.

"It's reflective of the slowed growth in the county. The fact that we're still increasing at all is the most remarkable thing," School Board Member Robert McClure said.

ARC officials said none of the 10 metro counties lost population over the last year. Gwinnett led the region with 9,000 new residents, followed by Fulton's 7,900, DeKalb's 6,300 and Cobb's 5,900.

Comments

jjbod1 1 year, 8 months ago

Out of that 9000, my bet is 95% of them are in southern Gwinnett and here illegally.

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teelee 1 year, 8 months ago

I don't know about illegal, but I would say Democrat.

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Say_that_again 1 year, 8 months ago

Okay all you new Gwinnett residents, get out their and register to vote and maybe we can vote out all the corrupt county commissioners! Its obvious that the Republicans won't do it.

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BurritoJones 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm confused. You think 95% of the 9000 are Democrats? What're you basing this on?

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Say_that_again 1 year, 8 months ago

It's teelee's lame attempt to smear Democrats.

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BurritoJones 1 year, 8 months ago

I assumed as much. But I wanted to see him attempt to map out the logic.

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Jan 1 year, 8 months ago

With such blatant racism with which to cope, why would they? Gwinnett did have a lower than national average unemployment but now has risen to just over the national average, probably due to people moving into the county in hopes of finding a job.

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NewsReader 1 year, 8 months ago

And what blatant racism is that Jan? You keep playing the race card as if that is the only card in your hand. Do tell. All of us would really like to know what racism you are referring to. It occurs to me, the only mention of race at all comes from you. Perhaps it it you that is the racist!

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teelee 1 year, 8 months ago

Jan's gotta blame somebody!

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BurritoJones 1 year, 8 months ago

I came here hoping for some vague xenophobia from the comment section.

Leaving satisfied. Thanks jjbod1.

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teelee 1 year, 8 months ago

Not bad considering Gwinnett is still number one for home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies in the state of Georgia.

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BurritoJones 1 year, 8 months ago

It's also the second most populated county in the state, just behind Fulton. Given all the renters in Fulton and their close proximity to the business districts, I would be more surprised if Gwinnett wasn't #1 in that realm.

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