Influx of Hispanics, Asians marks metro area's growth
Metro Atlanta's population boom keeps booming along — adding about 320 people a day since 2000 — with the fastest growth among Hispanics and Asians.
The 20-county metro area's population increased by 9 percent between 2000 and 2003 and now is about 4.4 million, according to estimates released Thursday by the Census Bureau.
The percentage of whites in the overall metro population has decreased from 60 percent to 58 percent in the last three years. Black population growth, at 11 percent, barely outpaces the overall rate. Blacks make up 29 percent of the total metro Atlanta population.
Within the five core counties, Hispanic and Asian populations are growing the fastest in Cobb and Gwinnett. Cobb's Hispanic population has grown 22 percent and its Asian population 20 percent over the last three years. Gwinnett experienced a 31 percent increase in Hispanic population and a 26 percent jump in Asians.
Metro Atlanta's soaring Hispanic population — now almost 350,000, nearly double the population of Columbus — may be even larger than the census numbers indicate, said demographer [Doug] Bachtel [, a demographer at the University of Georgia.]
"Nobody is certain how many Hispanics there are here because some of them are here illegally," Bachtel said. "There are various guesstimates. It could be one-and-a-half or two times the official number."