Estimates show uptick in metro Atlanta growth over the past year

Downtown Atlanta skyline
According to estimates from the Atlanta Regional Commission, the population of Metro Atlanta has grown to nearly 5.1 million people. (Emil Moffatt/WABE)

A new estimate finds metro Atlanta has grown to nearly 5.1 million people.

While the yearly increase pales in comparison to the astronomical growth of the 1990s when the region was adding more than 92,000 people a year, metro Atlanta did pick up nearly 65,000 residents from April of 2021 until this April.

That represents a rebound from the prior 12 months, which coincided with the bleakest part of the pandemic shutdown.

The estimates for the 11-country region are made by the Atlanta Regional Commission, based on the most recent census data, plus stats like building permits.

“These population gains are encouraging,” said the commission’s executive director Anna Roach. “They are a testament to the qualify of life that metro Atlanta offers.”

According to ARC estimates, Gwinnett County led the way with some 13,000 new residents; Fulton County added the second most with more than 11,000 new residents. Cobb County added 6,900 while DeKalb saw an increase of 5,430 and Clayton added 2,200.

’21 ARC Estimate’22 ARC EstimateIncrease
Metro Atlanta5,026,7045,091,64464,940
Gwinnett 970,242983,70213,460
Fulton1,075,9701,087,17011,200
Cobb772,349779,2496,900
Cherokee272,950279,8406,890
Forsyth258,413265,0336,620
Henry245,902252,5026,600
DeKalb769,592775,0225,430
Douglas146,237149,2973,060
Clayton300,085302,2852,200
Fayette120,684122, 6842,000
Rockdale94,28094,860580
City of Atlanta501,945507,0155,070

Just over 5,000 people moved into the city of Atlanta itself, compared to just 3,230 the year before. One reason the region continues to grow: employment, with metro Atlanta posting substantial job growth numbers above the U.S. average.

“As we look to the future, we must continue to work on housing affordability, access to transit, transportation infrastructure and other critical issues that we foster a region where everyone thrives,” Roach said.

YearMetro Atlanta Population
1980 Census1,924,140
1990 Census2,601,883
2000 Census3,527,779
2010 Census4,283,261
2020 Census4,967,514
2022 Estimate 5,091,644