Cobb County’s population will hit 1 million by 2050, according to the latest forecast by the Atlanta Regional Commission.
The county will add 295,000 people to reach 1 million, the ARC said while releasing its latest population and employment forecasts Thursday.
It said Cobb will continue to be the third-most populous county in the Atlanta region after Gwinnett and Fulton, and will also grow more diverse.
Highlights of the ARC’s 2050 population forecast for Cobb County include that the population will grow by 40% and reach 1.04 million, and the share of Hispanic residents will reach 21% in 2050, up from 13% in 2015.
The share of the county’s population aged 75 and over will reach 13% in 2050, compared to 4% in 2015, which is the ARC forecast’s base year.
The commission predictions were developed using several growth scenarios for each county. For Cobb’s population, these include a “higher regional growth” scenario of 1,192,977, a “slower regional growth” scenario of 1,108,929, and the “preferred” scenario of 1,035,800, that serves as the official ARC number, an ARC press release stated.
According to ARC’s regional forecast, the 21-county Atlanta region will add 2.9 million people by 2050, pushing the total population to 8.6 million.
The forecasts also show that by 2050, the region will become more racially and ethnically diverse, the number of older adults will increase significantly, and 1.2 million jobs will be added, bringing the region’s employment total to 4.7 million.
To put the numbers in context, the forecast population growth of 2.9 million is equivalent to today’s population of metro Denver, and slightly more than metro Charlotte, the ARC said.
It issues long-range population and employment forecasts about every four years to help inform major updates to the Atlanta Region’s Plan, the long-range blueprint for metro Atlanta’s future to improve the region’s quality of life.
“Metro Atlanta has been one of the nation’s growth engines for the past few decades, fueled by our high quality of life and dynamic, diverse economy,” said Doug Hooker, ARC executive director. “But of course there’s no crystal ball, and our continued prosperity is not a certainty. We must continue to carefully plan for the future and invest in the programs and infrastructure needed for our region to remain a great place to live.”
Highlights of the 2050 population and employment forecasts:
♦ The largest population increases are expected to occur in several areas: parts of in-town Atlanta; in the northern suburbs along the I-75, I-85 and Ga. 400 corridors; and on the south side near the airport.
♦ The share of Hispanic residents will reach 21% in 2050, up from 12% in 2015; the share of white residents is expected to decline from 47.5% in 2015 to 31% in 2050; and the share of black residents will remain steady at about 33%.
♦ The percentage of residents aged 75 or older is forecast to be 12% in 2050, compared to 4% in 2015.
♦ Gwinnett County will become the most populous county in the region with 1.48 million residents, narrowly edging Fulton County.
♦ Forsyth County will have the fastest rate of growth by 2050, more than doubling in population to 440,353, followed by Henry County with a growth rate of 70%.
♦ The largest jobs gains will occur in the following sectors: health care and social assistance; professional, scientific and technical; and construction. The largest job losses are forecast to occur in the manufacturing and utilities sectors.
The ARC is the official planning agency for the 10-county Atlanta region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties as well as the city of Atlanta and 73 other cities.