ARC count: Fayette growth slows

It has been no surprise that the lingering affects of the recession have impacted population growth in the 10-county Atlanta Regional Commission area. Population estimates around the ARC area for the two-year period from 2010-2012 showed that growth is slowing across the region. In Fayette County, the population increased by an estimated 934 residents, the second lowest population increase in the ARC.

Fayette County’s 2010 population was 106,567. Over the two succeeding years that number grew to 107,501, a difference of approximately 467 residents per year, according to ARC.

ARC’s Mike Carnathan said the population data was compiled using a variety of available data such as building permits, birth and death records, postal service records, census data and, to a lesser extent, school enrollment figures.

The desire to maintain its rural character notwithstanding, Fayette has attained its relative affluence in conjunction with the significant growth it has seen over the past four decades, long before most people living here called Fayette home.

Fayette County in 1970 recorded a population of 11,364. By 1980 the population had swelled by 155 percent to 29,043 and by 1990 the county grew by another 115 percent to 62,415 residents. Growth slowed during the next decade, with Fayette reaching a population of 91,263 by 2000, an increase of 46 percent. But by 2010 the population had increased by only 17 percent, to 106,567 residents. The estimate for the 2010-2012 time frame, doubtless affected by the recession, shows the addition of only 933 residents.

As for the population of the remaining nine ARC counties, the data indicated that Gwinnett County showed the greatest growth, adding 17,780 residents. Gwinnett was followed in descending order by Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb and Cherokee.

The least growth in the 10-county region was seen in Rockdale County where a net growth of 886 residents was seen over the two-year period.

In terms of building permits issued in Fayette County, ARC compared the number of permits issued 53 months before the recession began in December 2007 to the number issued 53 months after the recession began. The numbers are telling. Fayette County issued 3,443 building permits prior to the beginning o the recession and 439 during the same period since the recession began, a decrease of 87.3 percent. Similar large decreases in building permits have been seen around the 10-county area.

The 10-county ARC region includes Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties.

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