Metro Atlanta's Population Grew In 2022 After Pandemic Exodus
"Gwinnett County was one of metro Atlanta's fastest-growing counties post-pandemic, according to U.S. Census data.
ATLANTA, GA — Counties in the metro Atlanta area slightly regained some of the population they lost during the first years of the pandemic, according to a new Census Bureau report Thursday.
Overall, population growth and decline are returning to pre-pandemic levels in the nation’s 3,144 counties, according to the Census Bureau’s 2022 population estimates.
Fulton County’s population was 1,069,370 in 2020 but declined by more than 6,500 in 2021. Fulton rose to 1,074,634 in 2022.
Fayette and Douglas counties saw increases from their pre-pandemic population by at least 2,000 in 2022.
Cobb and Henry counties saw population increases of at least 5,000 while Gwinnett swelled by more than 17,300 from 2020-22.
DeKalb County’s pre-pandemic was 764,420, 759,231 in 2021 and 762,820 in 2022.
All 10 of the top fastest-growing counties were in the South or West, and nine of the 10 were metropolitan counties. Also, according to the report, some urban counties in New York and San Francisco that saw significant declines in their populations in 2021 saw people moving back in 2022.
Counties with large universities also saw their populations rebound as students returned to on-campus learning. One example: Whitman County in Washington lost 9.6 percent of its population between 2020 and 2021 when students went home during COVID, but grew by 10.1 percent last year, the most of any county with more than 20,000 people.
Similar patterns were seen in metropolitan counties in the South and West that are fully recovering their population. For example, Dallas County, Texas, the nation’s eighth-largest county, lost 22,000 people between 2020 and 2021, but gained 13,000 people from 2021 to 2022 for a growth rate of 0.5 percent, the report said.
The report showed 52.5 percent of counties saw growth from 2021 to 2022, while 47.1 percent lost population. Eleven counties (0.3 percent) saw no changes in their populations.
Nearly all the largest counties, those with at least 100,000 people, experienced population growth, the report said. One notable exception is Los Angeles County, California, whose downward population trend continued in 2022, with a loss of 90,704 people. In 2021, the county lost about twice that number (180,394).
The greatest population losses were in counties with fewer than 10,000 people. Almost 61 percent of them lost population, compared to about 38 percent that grew."
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