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Metro Atlanta's population rises to 5.7 million
Availability of jobs the key driver behind growth
W AtlantaSkyline 022615
In this July 9, 2012, photograph made using a long exposure, traffic moves along Interstate 75 against the downtown skyline in Atlanta. Metro Atlanta's population has reached 5.7 million, according to recent U.S. Census figures. - photo by ASSOCIATED PRESS/file

ATLANTA - Metro Atlanta's population continues to grow as hundreds of thousands of new residents moved in during the past five years, U.S. Census figures show.

The influx of new residents boosted metro Atlanta's population to 5.7 million, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Metro Atlanta, which the Census defines as stretching from the Alabama border to the outskirts of Athens, expanded by more than 95,000 people from 2014 to 2015. It remains the ninth-largest metro area in the U.S.

The numbers highlight the appeal of living in the Atlanta area, said Mike Carnathan, manager of the Atlanta Regional Commission's Research and Analytics Division.

"Metro Atlanta has a lot going for it," Carnathan said. "What it shows you is that metropolitan Atlanta is a desirable place to move to, whether for jobs or the climate, amenities or location."

The availability of jobs was a key driver in the region's population growth, experts said.

"Migration to Atlanta was pretty much minimal during the recession because people didn't think there were jobs, but after the recession, it has gone up," said Lakshmi Pandley, a senior research associate for Georgia State University's Fiscal Research Center.

Atlanta's home county of Fulton became Georgia's first county to cross the 1-million-resident mark last year.

But Gwinnett County has added slightly more people - about 90,500 - since 2010, an 11 percent increase.

Gwinnett's total population was nearly 896,000 in 2015, and a recent forecast indicated that the county just northeast of Atlanta is expected to pass Fulton County by 2040, the Atlanta newspaper reported.

"We're seeing much more urban revitalization and growth in the central metro counties," said Matt Hauer, the head of the University of Georgia Carl Vinson Institute's Applied Demography Program. "There's a limit to the sprawl, and you'll see much more rebound in the urban areas."

But other suburbs have been growing as well, in some cases quicker than their urban neighbors.

Forsyth County was the 11th-fastest growing county nationwide from 2010 to 2015, increasing its population by 21 percent to more than 212,000 residents.



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