Population estimates released by the Atlanta Regional Commission show Cherokee County’s population edged over the 220,000 mark.
The county grew an average 3,227 between 2010 and 2012, from 214,346 in 2010, 218,500 in 2011 and 220,800 in 2012.
County Commission Chairman Buzz Ahrens said he wasn’t surprised by the numbers as “we’ve been growing the last two years at 1.7 percent.”
Ahrens added he’s not expecting a drop in the growth rate, but he’s also not expecting a spike.
“I don’t think it will jump, but I will expect to see it progressively increase,” he said. “In a couple of years, we may be over the 2 percent mark.”
The 10-county Atlanta region had 4.1 million people in 2010 and 2011, but saw the population grow to 4.2 million this year.
The region as a whole averaged an additional 35,875 people since 2010.
“While this growth is certainly slower than what we became accustomed to in the 90s and 2000s, this pace is laudable in the face of the economic pressures we face,” said Doug Hooker, ARC executive director. “This blip in our growth pattern allows the region and our local governments to catch our collective breaths and prepare for the return of more typical growth.”
ARC staff attributed the slower growth rate to economic slowdown that has affected the entire country.
“People just don’t move as much when the economy is slow,” said Mike Alexander, chief of ARC’s Research Division. “And, considering that this recession started in the housing market and crippled that industry, property values have declined. That means fewer people are able to sell their homes and move to a different metro area.”
Gwinnett County led the region in growth, adding close to 9,000 people since 2010, followed by Fulton with 7,760, Cobb at 5,711 and DeKalb at 4,404. Henry County added an additional 2,789 people.