Showing posts with label georgia census. Show all posts
Showing posts with label georgia census. Show all posts

Friday, October 15, 2021

Georgia’s counties struggle with declining populations

 In Georgia, 66 of the state’s 159 counties lost population between 2010 and 2020 according to newly released information from the 2020 Decennial Census. These losses occurred even as the state gained more than 1 million people over the same decade and grew by 10.6%.

In the majority of cases, counties lost people who were 18 years or older, although 17 of the 66 counties gained population in the 18 and older category even while losing more people under the age of 18.

Together, the 66 counties saw a net population decline of 71,178. In contrast one county, Gwinnett County, saw its population grow by 151,741 over the same time period.

Counties losing population tended to be primarily rural economic areas in the lower half of the state and not part of major metropolitan areas that could benefit from growth of nearby cities.

Counties with the largest population declines included

Dougherty  -8,775 (-9.3%)

Telfair  -4,023 (-24.4%)

Dooly  -3,710 (-24.9%)

McIntosh  -3,358 (-23.4%)

Crisp  -3,311 (-14.1%)

Sumter  -3,203 (-9.8%)

These counties also suffered significant declines in the number of people age 18 and older.

Counties with the largest losses of people age 18 and older included

Dougherty  -3,965 (-5.6%)

Telfair  -2,994 (-22.7%)

Dooly  -2,572 (-21.9%)

Tattnall  -2,460 (-12.2%)

McIntosh  -2,215 (-19.7%)

Crisp  -1,747 (-10.1%)

Racial makeup of counties with declining populations

The 66 counties combined saw a net loss of 59,762 people who identified themselves as While alone in the 2020 Census, and a net loss of 37,170 people who identified themselves as Black or African American alone. These losses were partially offset by 25,353 people who identified themselves as belonging to two or more races.

With Census respondents able to self-report their race, it is impossible to know if the increase in the number of people reporting as belonging to two or more races is due to increase marriages between races or rather that people are feeling more comfortable reporting that their family background includes more than one race.

Dooly, McIntosh, and Telfair counties

Three counties – Dooly, McIntosh, and Telfair – recorded population declines greater than 20% between 2010 and 2020 with declines of -24.9%, -23.4% and -24.4% respectively.

For Dooly County, the number of people identifying themselves as White alone dropped by 31.1%, Black or African American alone declined by 25.3%, while the number of people identifying as belonging to two or more races rose by 127.9% from 136 in 2010 to 310 in 2020.

In McIntosh County, the number of people identifying themselves as While alone dropped by 18.9%, Black or African American alone declined by 38%, while the number of people identifying as belonging to two or more races rose by 175.1% from 177 in 2010 to 487 in 2020.

In Telfair County, the number of people identifying themselves as While alone dropped by 22.7%, Black or African American alone declined by 23.1%, while the number of people identifying as belonging to two or more races rose by 6% from 285 in 2010 to 302 in 2020.

In all three counties, the number of people age 18 or older declined at a slower rate than the overall decline in population with people 18 or older in Dooly County dropping by 21.9%, McIntosh County declining by 19.7%, and Telfair County seeing a drop of 22.7%.

Revitalizing rural counties

As people move out of these rural counties even as the state significantly increases its overall population, the challenge of retaining and even enticing people to move into these areas becomes both more urgent and more difficult.

Declining population leads to declines in opportunities, which leads to further declines in population.

The loss of older residents is significant because they provide incomes that support local businesses. The population losses also impact local tax collections, property values and other areas such as medical services as fewer people result in a declining need for local goods and services.

Georgia faces many hurdles in its counties located far from its largest metro areas. First, there is the question of whether to attempt to reverse population declines or whether to readjust to fewer people residing in large parts of the state.

If the state wants to bring people back to these areas, what resources are needed and how much of the state’s limited budget should be spent on this attempt especially as growing metro areas such as Atlanta and Savannah put in claims for state resources?

Finally, the question arises whether smaller counties that are losing population may be better served by merging and creating larger counties that can more efficiently serve their populations?

Rather than take a piecemeal approach, it would be good if state planners considered these larger questions before undertaking projects that at best might stem the tide of population declines, and at worse steal resources that could be better used.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Georgia Census: We are living increasingly closer to each other and in the northern part of the state

 Data from the 2020 Decennial Census reveals the shifting geography occurring in Georgia.

Census data are also provided for cities and towns in Georgia, including what the Census classifies as Census Designated Places (CDPs), which are settled areas, although not incorporated as cities or towns.

From 2010 to 2020, the number of people living in cities, towns, and CDPs in Georgia has grown by more than 800,000 or more than 18%, much faster than the growth of the state’s overall population.

In 2010, the state had 624 cities, towns, and CDPs. By 2020, that number had grown to 675 settled areas including newly incorporated cities such as Stonecrest and South Fulton.

Of the 675 settlements in the state, 563 had populations under 10,000, and another 93 had populations between 10,000 to 50,000. Eleven areas recorded populations between 50,000 to 99,000 while 7 areas showed populations between 100,000 to just over 200,000 leaving the City of Atlanta as the only city in the state with more than 210,000 people.

The City of Atlanta showed the greatest numerical growth of any settled area in Georgia, adding more than 78,000 people over the 10-year period, with a growth rate of greater than 18% for a 2020 population of almost 499,000.

The number of people living in the state but outside settled areas grew by 1870,000 over the decade, or only 3.6%.

Shifts in county populations

Eight counties in the Atlanta metro area – Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, and Henry – recorded the largest numerical increases of all Georgia counties with a combined population increase of 651,000 people, or 16.5%. Of those eight, Forsyth County showed the fastest growth with a 43% increase over the decade.

Although Columbia County (Augusta, Ga., MSA) reported a 25% growth rate, its addition of almost 32,000 more people still fell behind the numerical increases in the eight Atlanta metro counties.

Chatham County (Savannah, Ga., MSA) also recorded significant growth with the addition of 30,000 more people that resulted in an 11% growth rate.

At the other end of the spectrum, 67 counties saw population losses over the decade with Dougherty County recording the largest numerical loss of more than 8,000 people or 9% of its 2010 population. Dooly and Telfair counties recorded the largest percentage losses of 24% each followed by McIntosh County with a 23% population loss.

News media has already reported that from 2010 to 2020, Georgia’s population grew by 1 million people or 10.7%.

Information from the 2020 Census will inform Georgia lawmakers as they redraw legislative districts before the 2022 state elections.

Friday, August 13, 2021

New Census data show how Georgia’s workforce is changing

Newly released 2020 Census data shows that Georgia’s workforce continues to become more urbanized, more ethnically diverse, and more concentrated in the Atlanta area.

In 2010, 45.6 percent of the state’s population resided in Georgia’s 10 largest counties; in 2020 this percentage grew to 47.7 percent. Of the state’s 10 most populous counties, 8 of them are in the Atlanta area, with the other two being Chatham County (Savannah) and Muscogee County (Columbus).

Between 2010 and 2020, 78 percent of the state’s population growth occurred in the Atlanta metropolitan area, as the metro area saw its population grow by 803,087 out the statewide total increase of 1,024,255. Metro Atlanta is now home to 57 percent of the state’s population up from 54.6 percent in 2010.

Job concentration in the Atlanta metro area

In April 2020, 59 percent of employment in Georgia was situated in the Atlanta metro area.

As in 2010, in 2020 Fulton County remained the state’s most populous county, as well as the location of the largest number of jobs, although nearby Gwinnett County showed faster population growth over the decade.

In 2020, Fulton County held 10 percent of the state’s population and nearly 20 percent of the state’s jobs.

Georgia’s second most populous county, Gwinnett County, accounted for 9 percent of the state’s population and 8 percent of the state’s jobs.

A more diverse population leads to a more diverse workforce

As the state added population, fewer of its residents identified themselves as White alone. The number of residents identifying themselves as White alone declined by 4 percent over the decade.

Persons identifying themselves as White alone accounted for 51.9 percent of the state’s population but this percentage increased to 58.0 percent when persons were counted as White alone or in combination with another race.

Individuals identifying as Black or African American alone or in combination came in at 33.0 percent, with people identifying as Asian alone or in combination accounting for 5.3 percent.

Persons identifying themselves as Hispanic or Latino accounted for 10.5 percent of the population.

In the state’s most populous county, Fulton County, White alone accounted for 39.3 percent of the population, while in Gwinnett County, they accounted for 35.5 percent.

In both counties, the number of people identifying as White alone recorded significant drops from the 2010 Census when Fulton County reported a White alone population of 44.5 percent, and Gwinnett County recorded a 53.3 percent rate.

All of the Atlanta metro area’s 8 largest counties showed declines in the number of people reporting themselves as White alone since the 2010 Census.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Georgia's jobs market – suburban Atlanta counties win the prize

 Forsyth County, Ga., change in jobs, 2001-2019

Echols County, Ga., change in jobs, 2001-2019

Source for both graphs: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

20-year trends in Georgia's job market

Important as month-to-month changes are to the employment picture, sometimes it helps to take a longer view. We now have definitive information on how employment in Georgia has shifted from 2000 to 2020. Those data demonstrate longer-term trends that may well affect every aspect of the Georgia’s future.

In June 2000, jobs in Georgia totaled 3.9 million. Twenty years later, in June 2020, that number had jumped to almost 4.2 million jobs resulting in a job growth rate of 7 percent over two decades, an increase 2.5x greater than the nation.

Using information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) for each June between 2000 and 2020, a picture builds on how Georgia’s labor market has evolved. June is a good reference month because it represents both the middle of the year and the end of the state’s fiscal year.

Rather than a smooth upward climb during those 19 years, the state’s job market has experienced both highs and lows. From 2000 to 2010, Georgia actually lost nearly 145,000 jobs as recessions in 2001 and from 2007 to 2009 (the Great Recession) struck harder in Georgia than the nation as the state saw its percentage of job loss reach twice the national average.

The following decade, 2010-2020, saw a massive recovery in jobs as the state added 275,000 jobs (11.2 percent) even including the first six months of 2020, which saw the Covid-19 related recession.

Within that overall picture of declines followed by increases, is a series of dramatic changes within the state.

Dominance of Atlanta suburban counties

The story of Georgia’s jobs growth has been the dominance of the growth of jobs outward from the Atlanta core into the counties surrounding that core.

Fulton County includes much of the City of Atlanta and boasts a job base twice the size of any other county in the state. Despite this impressive statistic and the fact that the Atlanta metro area has been the job engine for the rest of the state, suburban Gwinnett County nearly tied Fulton County with each county seeing the creation of more than 53,000 new jobs since June 2000.

While Fulton County recorded a job rate on pace with the state’s overall percentage gain, Gwinnett County grew more than twice that rate, and Gwinnett was not even the fastest growing county in the metro area. That record belongs to Forsyth County, whose jobs base grew by 117 percent over the past 20 years, followed by Henry County, up 99 percent, and Cherokee County, up by 89 percent.

In another measure of the changes taking place within the Atlanta metro area, in June 2000, Fulton County contained more jobs (754,000) than the five Atlanta suburban counties combined (Gwinnett, Forsyth, Cobb, Henry, and Cherokee). In June 2020, those same five counties contained more jobs (877,000) than Fulton County alone (807,000).

Population growth leads to job growth

One of the stories in the past two decades has been the growth in population in the outer ring counties surrounding Atlanta. The story continues to be one of population growth leading to job growth as jobs follow population increases in the Atlanta metro area county by county outward from the City of Atlanta core.

Between 2010 and 2019, Georgia’s population grew by 9 percent, faster than the U.S. average of 6 percent. Fulton County increased its population by an impressive 15 percent, but Gwinnett County even exceeded that rate, with a population increase of 16 percent, and counties such as Cherokee and Forsyth exceeded even that growth rate, albeit starting from a smaller base.

A continuing story for the coming decade is the job growth in counties located even farther from the Atlanta core, such as development of Jackson County, located to the northeast of Atlanta along the I-85 transportation corridor. The county recorded a 74 percent growth rate over the 20 years, adding 16,000 jobs. That this job growth is continuing is evidenced by the new EV battery plant being built in the county to meet the needs of auto manufacturers in the Southeast.

With lots of relatively inexpensive land available for development, the county, along with neighboring Barrow County, are well positioned to take job growth away from higher cost but still fast-growing Gwinnett County, just as Gwinnett County has grown by seeing jobs shift out of Fulton and DeKalb counties.

Whether work-from-home practices developed in response to Covid-related social distancing, as well as technological changes that allow remote working will result in more movement out from the core will be a story to watch.

Not all Atlanta counties are benefiting from the changes

Even as the Atlanta metro area led the state in job creation, some of the job growth in the fast-growing counties came at the expense of two other Atlanta area counties – Clayton and DeKalb – both of which saw declines in their job numbers.

DeKalb County lost a net of more than 32,000 jobs over the past two decades, as severe losses between 2000 and 2010 were followed by a weak recovery the following 10 years.

Clayton County suffered net losses in both periods resulting in a decline of nearly 20,000 jobs between 2000 and 2020. Clayton County’s employment has traditionally been tied to the transportation industry, as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is located in Clayton County and many of the county’s residents have travel-related jobs, such as those working at Delta Air Lines. The Great Recession in 2007-2009 followed by the impact of Covid-19 restrictions in 2020 greatly impacted Clayton County and it remains to be seen if employment will rebound as these restrictions are relaxed, or whether the jobs lost may not return.

Loss of employment in small rural counties

While one story is the fast-growing Atlanta area with two counties (Clayton and DeKalb) not participating in the area’s expansion, the second story is that ongoing job losses in many of the state’s rural counties.

Georgia is unusual in having 159 counties, many of which are relatively small geographically, so county employment is easier to watch than in states where larger counties can mask areas of decline.

In Georgia, 14 counties saw job declines of 50 percent or more between June 2000 and June 2020. Many of these counties have been seeing declines in employment opportunities even before 2001. As their job markets grew smaller, the lack of opportunities forces a downward spiral in jobs. Counties with already small job markets see their share of the state’s job growth become even smaller.

Echols County, in southeast Georgia, is an example. The mostly agricultural area recorded a net loss of more than 900 jobs between 2000 and 2020. As of June 2020, the county had no incorporated municipalities and reported a total of only 535 jobs, of which 346 were in private industry and the remainder in government. Not surprisingly, the county’s population has also declined, dropping by 7 percent between 2010 and 2019. Population will most likely continue to decline, probably at a slower rate than job losses, as some job seekers either commute out of the county to work each day, or move to where job markets are growing, while people not in the labor force choose to stay due to connections in the county.

Other counties with severe job losses included Murray County, down 73 percent (-5,900 jobs), Jenkins County, down 109 percent (-1,600 jobs), and Marion County, down 127 percent (-1,500 jobs).

In total, 88 of Georgia’s 159 counties have recorded a net decline in jobs of one percent or more since 2001. As of June 2020, these 88 counties reported a combined employment declines of more than 175,000 jobs.

As of June 2020, Fulton County was home to the largest number of jobs of any county in the state, with employment totaling a little more than 800,000. The was equal to the employment totals of 129 of Georgia’s smallest counties.

Where does Georgia go from here?

The Georgia state legislature will be redrawing its Congressional and state legislative districts based on data from the 2020 Census. While Census data is based on population, not jobs, the direction of job growth and decline, provides good evidence on how the state’s economy is adjusting.

Jobs continue to be concentrated in metro areas, and particularly in the Atlanta metro area, although these are increasingly being created on the outer ring of the core urban area. Workers in small rural counties find fewer opportunities as jobs disappear, although as evidenced by Clayton and DeKalb county declines, even being located in a geographical region with lots of jobs prospects does not insure that your county will benefit from the overall trend.

Fewer jobs lead to fewer job prospects, leads to movement of job seekers out of the area, which in turn creates a declining economy as employees are also consumers who take their purchasing power with them.

The tension between metro Atlanta and the rest of the state has traditionally been between the City of Atlanta and rural Georgia, but increasingly, suburban counties, and especially the outer ring counties around Atlanta, will hold the balance of economic and political power in the state unless the trends of the last 20 years shift significantly in the next decade.

The new battleground is not between rural and urban Georgia, but a fight by the fast growing outer ring counties around Atlanta to obtain both the respect, which they believe is currently lacking, and the political power to shift rules and laws in their favor.