As Gwinnett County Approach 1 Million Residents, What Is the Affect on Foundational Residents?


Gwinnett County is on the verge of crossing the 1 million residents milestone, and it may have already achieved this feat based on the latest population figures released by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) on Wednesday.

As of this spring, the ARC’s 2023 population estimates placed Gwinnett at 997,212 residents, reflecting an increase of 13,510 residents in the past year. This growth is the second-highest in numerical terms, surpassed only by Fulton County, which added 18,500 residents and now boasts a population of 1.1 million.

Considering the growth trends observed last year and the fact that these estimates are from April 2023, Gwinnett might already be at or on the cusp of reaching the 1 million residents mark.

Gwinnett County Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson emphasized the need for strategic decisions and planning now that the county is officially approaching the 1 million residents milestone. The focus includes addressing housing shortages, with ongoing efforts such as a housing study and careful consideration of zoning matters.

The ARC estimates an average annual increase of 13,383 new residents in Gwinnett since 2020. Officials have long discussed the challenges associated with reaching 1 million residents, particularly in areas like housing, transportation, and public services.

Looking ahead, population estimates suggest Gwinnett could welcome an additional half-million people by 2040 or 2050. The county is actively preparing for this growth by addressing housing needs, expanding transportation infrastructure, and completing comprehensive plans for transit development.

Hendrickson stressed the importance of job creation in tandem with housing development. The region’s strong job growth, with a 5.4% increase in employment since the COVID-19 pandemic, has contributed significantly to population growth.

While Gwinnett has positioned itself as a hub for employment opportunities, Hendrickson acknowledged the need for more high-paying jobs and emphasized the connection between job creation and the demand for housing.

Gwinnett’s growth is evident in the issuance of building permits, with the county issuing the second-highest number of permits in the 11-county region. The majority of these permits were for single-family homes, reflecting the ongoing demand in the housing market. But how is this growth affecting the community as a whole, and who is really benefiting from this growth?

Despite past predictions about potentially surpassing Fulton County in population, Hendrickson expressed uncertainty about overtaking Fulton, citing factors such as undeveloped land and increased building permits in Atlanta.

Gwinnett County is at a pivotal moment, with a focus on strategic planning to address the challenges and opportunities associated with reaching 1 million residents, but we must have an emphasis on how all of this growth will affect native Gwinnett residents, particularly foundational African-Americans.