If the City of Atlanta seems more populated in these post-pandemic times, it’s not an illusion.

According to the Atlanta Regional Commission’s 2023 population estimates released today, the city proper logged the fastest growth rate across the entire region between April 2022 and April this year.

The city’s population boost was “surprising,” in fact, as one ARC official put it in an email to Urbanize Atlanta.

Within that 12-month period, the City of Atlanta packed on an estimated 14,300 additional residents—nearly three times the amount ARC tabulated for the previous year.

ARC officials attribute the city’s growth spurt to a boom in multifamily construction. That echoes a national study last month that found metro Atlanta remains in the top three markets for construction despite spiking interest rates and other challenges.

Atlanta Regional Commission

The ARC found that nearly 12,000 building permits were issued in the City of Atlanta for standalone houses and multifamily units in the year ending in April.

That’s more than double what was logged in Gwinnett County—the next highest place on the building permit list—which counts nearly twice the population of Atlanta and a far greater land area. 

The City of Atlanta also notched the highest rate of growth across the metro at 2.8 percent. It was followed by Cherokee County (2.5 percent) and Forsyth and Henry counties (both 2.1 percent).

Atlanta Regional Commission

On a broader scale, the ARC found that all 11 metro counties included in its annual analysis saw population increases over the past year. (The U.S. Census, it should be noted, considers metro Atlanta a 29-county metropolitan statistical area with a population of more than a million additional people.)

The ARC’s analysis found the 11-county region added 66,730 residents, bumping the metro population to 5.16 million last year.

Leaders on a county level were Fulton County, which gained 18,500 residents, followed by Gwinnett (13,510), Cherokee (7,120), and Cobb (6,100) counties.

The ARC attributes the region’s swelling resident count to strong job growth. Since the pandemic began in early 2020, the metro’s job employment base has grown by 5.4 percent, good for fifth in the nation behind Orlando, Las Vegas, Dallas, and percentage-growth leader Austin, respectively, per the ARC.

“People are moving here for one simple reason: jobs are plentiful,” ARC’s managing director of research and analytics, Mike Carnathan, said in press release today. “The Atlanta region continues to be an attractive place for businesses to set up shop or expand. It’s a testament to our well-educated population and strong business climate.”

Atlanta Regional Commission

On a metro-wide basis, however, the ARC’s findings indicate the sheer number of building permits issued last year is still far below the region’s peak growth periods from the 1980s to early 2000s.

Find more highlights from the ARC analysis in the gallery above. 


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Analysis: Construction slowing across U.S., but Atlanta bucks trend (Urbanize Atlanta)