LAWRENCEVILLE — For the first time in years, Gwinnett is not at the top of the growth chart for metro Atlanta.
According to Atlanta Regional Commission estimates released Friday, Gwinnett added 9,100 new residents between April 1, 2012, and April 1, 2013. The county came in second to Fulton’s 9,300 new residents.
“The fact that Gwinnett continues to grow is not surprising. With the number of young families already here and the attractiveness of the community, we expect this trend to continue,” Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said.
“I have to admit that I am relieved to see a slower rate of growth now than in earlier decades,” she added.
In all, the 10-county metro region added 40,100 new residents, considerably lower than the annual growth the area experienced in the 1990s and early 2000s. But each county did add new residents, officials noted.
“While our latest population estimates reflect slower growth than we became accustomed to in the ’90s and 2000s, metro Atlanta is still a place that attracts many people,” said Doug Hooker, ARC executive director. “Our local jurisdictions have had a few years to catch their collective breaths and are preparing for faster growth that will come as the housing market and the economy continue to bounce back.”
Despite the slower growth, compared to the average 77,000 new residents a year between 1990 and 2010, the numbers are on the rise. Since 2010, the average growth has been 37,283, officials said, and the U.S. Census Bureau ranked metro Atlanta as the sixth fastest growing metro region in the United States between 2012 and 2013.
“People just don’t move as much when the economy is slow,” said Mike Alexander, manager of ARC’s Research and Analytics division. “And, considering that this recession severely impacted the housing industry, forcing property values down, fewer people are able to sell their homes and move to different metro areas, even if jobs are available there.”