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Suburban growth and sprawl exploding in Atlanta

Guest donaltopablo

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Guest donaltopablo

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- The Census Bureau reported Thursday that four of the 10 fastest-growing counties in America are in Atlanta's suburbs, where sprawl has created some of the worst traffic congestion in the country.

Job opportunities and affordable housing are drawing people from around the nation to the four counties, which form a semicircle around Atlanta. The populations of Forsyth, Henry, Newton and Paulding counties have each grown by about 25 percent from April 2000 to July 2003.

"It reflects the job opportunities and the quality of life in the counties," said Doug Bachtel, a demographer at the University of Georgia. "You can get into some comfortable housing and not have to give your kid up for the down payment."

The massive growth of Atlanta's suburbs has created heavy traffic into the city, but more people are moving farther away to where they can get bigger homes and a better education for their children, said Scott Whelchel, an associate real estate broker for Century 21 in Forsyth County.

The South showed some of the strongest growth compared to the rest of the country. It had 60 of the nation's 100 fastest-growing counties, followed by 20 in the West and 18 in the Midwest, according to the census.

The fastest-growing county in the nation is Loudoun County in northern Virginia. It grew by about 31 percent, the census said.

"It's just a westward progression," said Loudoun County demographer Clark Draper. "It's an expansion of the Washington metro area. It has made it to our county."

Georgia also had a fifth county in the nation's top 10: Chattahoochee, which is mostly made up of the Army's Fort Benning. It is about 170 miles southwest of Atlanta.

The census figures may be somewhat flawed because they are measured county-by-county, and Georgia's 159 counties are smaller than those found in most states, said Bart Lewis, chief of the research division at the Atlanta Regional Commission.

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The populations of Forsyth, Henry, Newton and Paulding counties have each grown by about 25 percent from April 2000 to July 2003.

Holy cow that's a lot! Sounds as if Atlanta really needs to push more than it already has to promote growth in the center of Atlanta instead of pushing it to the 'burbs.

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Guest donaltopablo

The city has enjoined investment and growth like it hasn't seen since before the 80s. DT population has never been higher. There are some amazing things going on in the city.

But the fact is, the state and the handful of regional bodies that are suppose to help Atlanta manage it growth have done little to support it. Toss that in with the fact that the average home buyer still looks to get as much house for the money as possible, and that continues to occur in the suburbs. With no policies on growth and no teeth in the few organization who would be responsible for trying to balance the growth, this will continue for the forseeable future in Atlanta.

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