Top 10 Georgia Cities on the rise with populations greater than 20,000, according to NerdWallet.com:
1. Johns Creek
3. Warner Robins
7. North Atlanta
8. Sandy Springs
Hinesville ranks second among 37 Georgia cities with populations greater than 20,000, according to a June 13 report for NerdWallet.com by analyst Maggie Clark.
Clark’s article, “Cities on the rise in Georgia,” compared working-age population growth, employment growth and medium-income growth among Georgia’s largest cities between 2009 and 2012.
She said Georgia has gained back 65 percent of the jobs lost during the recent recession, having added 76,400 jobs between April 2013 and April 2014. Moreover, she wrote, 277,000 people moved to the Peach State in 2012, a figure based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly 4,000 of those new residents made Hinesville their home, she said.
Clark added that data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed per capita income in Georgia increased 2.7 percent to $38,179 in 2013. She said although the state’s unemployment rate still is above the national average, it’s moving downward. Clark said job opportunities among all economic sections are increasing as companies continue moving to Georgia. Georgia’s cities on the rise include middle-income and wealthy Atlanta suburbs as well as military towns like Hinesville, she said.
“The Census Bureau doesn’t identify the source of the growth,” Clark said, responding to a question about counting the fluctuating troop strength at Fort Stewart between 2009 and 2012 when the 3rd Infantry Division was deploying and redeploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. “(The) working-age population increase only counts for civilians... Between 2009 and 2012, 3,922 working-age (civilian) adults moved to Hinesville.”
While defining “working-age” as being 16 years old and older, her report notes that the Georgia Department of Labor said more Hinesville residents work for the federal government, including the military (as Department of Defense civilian employees or civilian contract workers) than any other economic sector.
Hinesville was one of five of the top 10 cities in the study that are not in the Atlanta metro area, Clark said. Her study found that six of the top 10 cities saw double-digit increases in their working-age population; four cities on the top 10 list outside Atlanta had military bases nearby; and eight of the top 10 cities saw income for full-time workers increase by more than 10 percent.
She said Hinesville’s working-age population grew by 13.4 percent between 2009 and 2012, and the city’s median income grew by 17.3 percent during the same period. She added that Hinesville’s overall growth score was 76, compared to the first-place city, Johns Creek — north of Atlanta — with a score of 83.3. In 17th place, Statesboro’s overall score was 49.4. Savannah was ranked No. 19 on the list with an overall score of 48.6.
“Based on our analysis, it’s clear that Hinesville is a growing city that will likely keep growing in the future,” Clark said. “City leaders should take note of these trends and begin thinking about long-term planning to support new residents and new employers.
“The study’s results can be a jumping-off point for local leaders to compare their growth to their neighbors and start a local conversation about what’s driving the growth in Hinesville and how the city should respond.”
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