Last week, we posted highlights of the recent release of 2017 County Population estimates by the Census Bureau. We compared the change in population 2016-2017 in the Atlanta Metro to that of other large metros, as well as took a closer look at population change for the 10 member counties of the Atlanta Regional Commission.  This week, we look at the two main drivers for population change: natural increase/decrease and net migrationNatural increase/decrease is determined by the balance of births and deaths.  If births outnumber deaths in an area, that area is experiencing a natural increase.  If there are more deaths than births, the area is  experiencing a natural decrease.  In addition to natural factors, net migration can add to, or take away from, an area’s population.  If more people move into an area than move out, net migration is positive; if more move out than move in, net migration is negative. Less growth (or negative change) from births and deaths can be offset by a high positive net migration, and vice-versa.

Metro Population Change Comparison: Birth, Deaths, and Migration (2016 to 2017)

MetroPopulation, 2016Population, 2017Population Change, 2016-2017Births (+)Deaths (-)Natural Change (+/-)Net Migration (+/-)
Washington, D.C.6,150,6816,216,58965,90880,08237,46642,61623,217
New York20,275,17920,320,87645,697245,608152,11293,496-48,021
San Francisco4,699,0774,727,35728,28052,29232,48319,8098,595
Los Angeles13,328,26113,353,90725,646160,09487,93772,157-46,586

Atlanta ranks third in population increase 2016-2017 across the twelve largest metro areas. Positive net migration has driven the largest share (60%) of this growth (at nearly +54,000 during the year). For Atlanta, most of the in-migration (about 33,300) were domestic in-migrants, with a positive international in-migration of 20,450. In older, slower-growth metros  (such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago) net migration has recently been negative (see above), with any net population increase  provided by natural increase (or by the fact that the number of births is higher than the number of deaths). Interestingly, for those three metros 2016-2017, while international migrants continued to move in, domestic migrants moved out in larger numbers.

10-County Metro Population Change: Birth, Deaths, and Migration (2016 to 2017)

 Total Population, 2016Total Population, 2017Population Change, 2016-2017Births (+)Deaths (-)Natural Change (+/-)Net Migration (+/-)
10-County Metro Region4,514,1214,575,97261,85158,38728,04830,33931,550
Cherokee County241,600247,573 5,973 2,791 1,489 1,302 4,650
Clayton County280,006285,153 5,147 4,127 1,733 2,394 2,749
Cobb County750,477755,754 5,277 9,514 4,498 5,016 264
DeKalb County746,690753,253 6,563 11,021 4,637 6,384 223
Douglas County142,021143,882 1,861 1,762 1,015 747 1,121
Fayette County111,248112,549 1,301 89586431 1,286
Fulton County1,024,2481,041,423 17,175 13,053 7,127 5,926 11,187
Gwinnett County907,101920,260 13,159 11,700 4,475 7,225 5,976
Henry County221,355225,813 4,458 2,512 1,526 986 3,478
Rockdale County89,37590,312937 1,012 684328616

Within the 10-county area 2016-2017, natural increase (49%) and net migration (51%) have accounted for nearly equal shares of population increase. Across the state as a whole, net migration (at 58%) has accounted for a comparatively larger share of  net population growth than did natural increase. This is not surprising, as Atlanta’s greater racial and ethnic  diversity has historically aligned with higher birthrates. Also interestingly, the ARC Region (2016-2017) captured 3 of 4 net  international migrants statewide, as opposed to 1 in 3 net domestic migrants.