The Atlanta Regional Commission recently credited Henry County with the second-largest percentage population increase in its 10-county Atlanta region.

Its population estimates, released Aug. 22, show a 2.5 percent uptick in the number of residents.

According to a news release, the county added 5,800 new residents in the past year, bringing its total population to 234,800.

Since 2010, 30,878 residents have moved in.

“With our strategic location and positioning near a major metropolitan city, the world’s busiest airport, a major corridor to the port of Savannah, our diverse population and rising economic opportunities, Henry County continues to be one of the most desired places to live in the country,” county Chair June Wood said in a statement. “We’re developing something for everyone, from Millennials to seniors. Henry County is truly becoming a more wonderful community for all.”

The county’s growth continues a recent trend, the release stated, in which the region’s outer counties have grown at the fastest rate.

Cherokee County is the No. 1 growth leader with a 2.9 percent increase, leading the region with a 19 percent growth rate since 2010, the release stated.

Rockdale and Fayette counties are No. 3 and 4, respectively, according to regional commission spokesman Paul Donsky.

Job growth fueled the region’s population boom, according to the release.

Overall, the 10-county Atlanta region added 75,800 residents in the past year, the second-largest increase since 2010, and now boasts a population of more than 4.5 million.

According to the regional commission, that figure is about the same as the population of the entire state of Kentucky or Louisiana.

“The Atlanta region had strong growth over the last few years as we emerged from the Great Recession,” Mike Carnathan, manager of the regional commission’s research and analytics group, said in a statement. “People are moving here because jobs are plentiful and because metro Atlanta offers a great quality of life.”

The U.S. Census Bureau, counting 29 counties in its Atlanta metropolitan statistical area, reported more than 41,000 jobs were added between April 2017 and April 2018.

The job growth gives the MSA the rank of ninth in the nation.

“The fastest-growing sectors were construction, education and health services, transportation and warehousing,” Donsky said in a statement.

Employment growth was 1.5 percent year over year, similar to the national average, he said.

Each of the Atlanta region’s 10 core counties experienced population growth during the past year.

Fulton County added 17,200, Gwinnett added 16,700, and DeKalb added 10,630.

Regional commission board chair Kerry Armstrong said the numbers are more than facts and figures.

“ARC’s annual population estimates are a great tool to help local governments plan for the future and focus the region’s attention on key issues critical to our quality of life, like housing affordability and transportation,” he said in a statement.

Henry County has already put regional commission forecasts to work.

Its Imagine Henry 2040 comprehensive land use plan is one reaction to a surge in population predicted in 2016.

Then, the regional commission projected the county will grow by 60 percent more residents over 25 years to arrive at a total population of 352,000 residents.

Henry County Schools and Piedmont Henry Hospital also said at the time they have planned for the greater numbers.

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