Since the dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic, metro Atlanta has made an astonishing leap from the country’s ninth largest metropolitan area to the sixth, according to U.S. Census population estimates released today.

Across the year ending July 1, 2023, metro Atlanta’s 29-county region added another 68,585 residents, for a total of 6.3 million. Only two metros (Dallas and Houston, respectively) gained more people last year.

That growth was enough to push the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell metropolitan statistical area past the metro populations of Washington D.C. and Philadelphia last year, leapfrogging them for sixth place among U.S. population centers now, per the new Census data.

Two years ago, Census officials said metro Atlanta had added about 43,000 residents over the year ending in summer 2021, pushing it past Greater Miami for eighth place. (At the time, the ranking was the highest metro Atlanta had ever had among U.S. cities—and it marked the first time in modern history Atlanta’s metro area was considered the largest in the Southeast.)

According to the most recent Census tally, the only U.S. cities with larger metro areas than Atlanta’s are, in descending order: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and Houston.  

via U.S. Census Bureau

The Census estimates indicate metro Atlanta has packed on more than 200,000 residents since the early days of the pandemic in April 2020.

The new population count also shows bright spots at the county level, too.

Two Georgia counties landed in the top 10 among fastest growing counties with a population of 20,000 or more. Those were Jackson County northeast of Gwinnett (5.5 percent growth), and Dawson County north of Atlanta (5.1 percent).

via U.S. Census Bureau

Another population estimate released in December by Census officials showed Georgia had reached a new threshold for the first time in history last year, joining just a handful of U.S. states with 11 million or more people.

According to that analysis, Georgia added 116,077 residents across the year ending in July, for a total population of 11,029,227. Only eight states count 11 million or more people, and just three states—Texas, Florida, and North Carolina, respectively—grew more than Georgia last year. 

As impressive as metro Atlanta’s growth may sound last year, it was dwarfed by the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area, which swelled with nearly 153,000 more people and surpassed 8 million residents for the first time.

The Houston-Pasadena-The Woodlands metro, meanwhile, added 139,789 people over the same period, for a tally of 7.5 million.

U.S. Census Bureau

via U.S. Census Bureau


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