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Updated at 1:09 p.m. on Aug. 23:

Cherokee is the fastest growing county in the metro Atlanta area, with 7,100 people added to the population in the past year, according to Atlanta Regional Commission estimates released Wednesday.

The county now has a population of 254,500 and has led the region’s counties in percentage growth since 2010. According to ARC data, Cherokee grew by 2.9 percent between April 2017 and April 2018 and 19 percent between 2010 and 2018.

The county’s growth follows a long-term trend of Atlanta’s outer suburbs, where growth has happened faster than inner suburbs, ARC Senior Communication Director Jim Jaquish said in the announcement on Wednesday.

“The Atlanta region had strong growth over the last few years as we emerged from the Great Recession,” said Mike Carnathan, manager of ARC’s research and analytics group. “People are moving here because jobs are plentiful and because metro Atlanta offers a great quality of life.”

Cherokee County Commission Chairman Leavitt “Buzz” Ahrens said on Thursday that the growth statistics speak volumes about the county.

“Cherokee County continues to make headlines, whether it's the recent opening of Costco two weeks ago, the recent statistics on our school district, our third-quarter financials (or) yesterday’s news about our population growth,” Ahrens said. “For Cherokee to be the metro leader in population growth since 2010, shows we are a destination for many, many reasons.”

He said the growth shows “we have our act together,” and the data positively foreshadows job prospects. Ahrens added that low taxes and proximity to both Atlanta and “the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the north,” make Cherokee attractive for making a home.

The county’s list of “unique selling points,” Ahrens said, includes top school performance, public safety standards, economic development growth, parks and recreation facilities, shopping and healthcare availability and ease of transportation.

ARC estimates indicate that the Atlanta region added 75,800 people in the past year, bringing the total population to 4,555,900. Census Bureau data also ranks the 29-county Atlanta metropolitan statistical area No. 7 in the nation for jobs growth between April 2017 and April 2018, when an estimated 41,000 jobs were added.

ARC data shows that each of the region’s 10 core counties increased in population in the past year, with Fulton County adding the most people – 17,570. Gwinnett and DeKalb Counties were second and third.

“ARC’s annual population estimates are a great tool to help local governments plan for the future and focus the region’s attention on key issues critical to our quality of life, like housing affordability and transportation,” said Kerry Armstrong, ARC Board Chair.

For more information on the Atlanta Regional Commission and its latest regional snapshot, visit atlantaregional.org.

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