To catch up on this series, here is Part 1. Here is Part 2. In this post, I will share a brief timeline of Atlanta's international population growth and then give a few observations about it.
The year 2021 will mark 25 years since the 1996 Olympics were held in Atlanta. Although the city had a growing international community before that time, the Olympic games opened wide the doors for more and more internationals to attend school, work and live in the Atlanta metro area. Both in 2006 and 2015, the Ethnic America Network held their annual Summit in Atlanta. Here is a brief timeline, marking Atlanta's foreign born population growth at each of these events:
- Total Population = approx. 3.5 million
- Foreign Born Population = approx. 275,000
- The foreign born population was 8% of the total Atlanta metro
2006: Ethnic America Summit
- Total Population = approx. 5.12 million
- Foreign Born Population = approx. 665,000
- The foreign born population was 13% of the total Atlanta metro
2015: Ethnic America Summit
- Total Population = approx. 5.7 million
- Foreign Born Population = approx. at just under 800,000
- The foreign born population was 14% of the total Atlanta metro
2021: 25 years since '96 Olympics
- Total Population = projected at 6.2 million
- Foreign Born Population = projected to be 1 million
- The foreign born population will be 16% of the total Atlanta metro
Here are a few observations about these numbers:
- The Atlanta metro is made up of approximately 150 towns and cities in 29 different counties, spread across an area of over 8,000 square miles (I've actually driven most of this) - which is larger than the state of Massachusetts. Area residents live under a heavily decentralized collection of governments (due to the large number of counties in Georgia), and are more suburban than urban. In fact, fewer than one in ten residents actually live inside the Atlanta city limits.
- Atlanta saw its greatest growth, both in overall population and in foreign born population between 1996-2006. (I know, this is obvious).
- The foreign born growth rate is exceeding that of the overall population (Yes, another brilliant observation).
- What is hidden by these numbers is that much of Atlanta's total population growth is occurring because of the growing families among the foreign born population. In other words, many of the total population numbers are actually children of those foreign born parents. Internationals are pushing Atlanta's growth.
- Basically, 1 out of every 6 Atlanta residents were born in a country outside the U.S.
Next, we will identify a few examples of international communities in Atlanta.