U.S. Census Bureau

Bartow and Paulding remain the fastest-growing counties in Northwest Georgia, according to population estimates released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

But Floyd, Polk and Gordon are showing moderate gains, picking up in recent years, and Chattooga registered a population increase after years of steady decline.

The census report sets estimates of county population as of July 1, 2018. It uses the number of births, deaths, migrations from outside the county and emigrations to another place.

According to the report, 55.3% of U.S. counties gained population between 2017 and 2018 and 44.3% lost people. Between 2010 and 2018, population increased in 47.1% of the nation’s 3,142 counties and decreased in 52.9%.

The fastest-growing county by percentage between 2017 and 2018 was Williams County, North Dakota, population 35,350, at 5.9%. Jackson County, Georgia, squeaked onto the top 10 list for metropolitan counties with 4.0%

♦ Floyd County had a net gain of 500 people between 2017 and 2018, putting the population at 97,927.

That’s up 0.51% for the year and 2.12% from the 2014 estimate of 95,890. The increase over the 2010 census of 96,317 is lower, 1.67%, which indicates most of the growth occurred in the past five years.

♦ Polk County’s population went to 42,470, up from 41,910 in 2017. The net gain of 560 people reflects a 1.34% growth rate, the fourth-highest in the 10-county area.

♦ Chattooga County stopped its population bleed with a net gain of 74 people over the year. The 0.30% gain brought its total to 24,790. The county has had an overall decline of -4.71% since its 2010 census count of 26,015.

♦ Gordon County’s population grew by 498 between 2017 and 2018, setting the new estimate at 57,685. It’s a small percentage, however, compared to its overall increase of 4.53% from the 2010 count of 55,186.

♦ Bartow, with 106,408 people, is the second-largest county in the region. It added 1,427 between 2017 and 2018 for a growth rate of 1.36%. The rate is at 6.24% from its 2010 census count of 100,157.

♦ Paulding County has the most people – 164,044 as of 2018 after adding a net 4,492 in the previous year. That’s a 2.81% increase. It’s grown 15.26% since its 2010 census of 142,324.

♦ Whitfield County’s new estimate is 104,062, following a net loss of 1 resident over the previous year. Its growth rate registers at 0.90% over the previous five years and is at 1.43% overall, since the 2010 count of 102,599 people.

♦ Catoosa County added 917 people, for a new estimate of 67,420 – a growth rate of 1.38% between 2017 and 2018. Overall, the population increased by 3,478 since 2010, equal to 5.44%.

♦ Walker County’s new estimate is 69,410, an increase of 385 people from 2017. That’s a growth rate of 0.55%, compared to an overall rate of 0.95% since the 2010 count of 68,756.

♦ Dade is the only other county registering a net loss, of -2.41% from its 2010 count and -0.14% from 2017. The loss of 23 people between 2017 and 2018 puts its new population estimate at 16,226.