People still kept moving to Cobb in the early part of the decade, despite the fallout from the deepest recession of the past 70 years.
It’s a remarkable story, and one that reflects well on our community.
New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau released last week show that Cobb and its six cities kept growing from 2010 to 2012, even with the economy still struggling to recover from the pit it fell into in 2008-09.
Cobb’s population grew by about 2.8 percent to 707,442 from 688,076 in that period. In so doing it outpaced the rest of the state, which grew overall by 2.4 percent. Subtract Cobb’s numbers from the state’s and the state’s actual growth percentage would be considerably lower.
As for Cobb’s cities, Acworth led the way at 3.8 percent, growing to 21,200 from 20,400 people.
In second place was Marietta, which grew by 3.2 percent to 58,300 from 56,500. The other figures were:
• Kennesaw, 3.1 percent, to 30,990
• Smyrna, 2.7 percent, to 52,600 people.
• Powder Springs, 2.3 percent, to 14,253
• And perhaps most notable of all, Austell, struggling to overcome both the recession and the effects of disastrous flooding in September 2009, nevertheless managed to grow by 1.9 percent, to 6,782.
How to explain all this growth?
Some still come here for the same reasons that people began coming here 175 years ago: good transportation access (back then via the W&A Railroad), a healthy climate (cooler and healthier than Georgia’s coast and lowlands were back in the yellow fever era) and abundant opportunity. Cobb still boasts superior transportation access, sitting astride three major interstate highways and being less than an hour from the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta. Most of the local public schools are among the best in Georgia, there are plenty of entertainment and recreational options (the much-vaunted “quality of life” issues), and perhaps most important, Cobb still boasts one of the Southeast’s most diverse and dynamic economies.
In short, as has often been said, Cobb has “built a better mousetrap.”
As retired Kennesaw State University History professor Dr. Tom Scott explains, “The fundamental reasons why this area has grown is because it is very affordable compared to practically any other metropolitan area, low taxes, good schools, dynamic universities, relatively low crime, good parks, good recreational areas and high quality of life.”
If Cobb managed to keep growing despite the economic rigors of recent years, it’s hard to imagine a time when that growth will ever stop.
Our challenge is not to rest on our laurels, but to keep improving and refining what makes Cobb what it is, and to keep expanding our infrastructure and economic opportunities so that we do not eventually find ourselves overwhelmed by the never-ending waves of newcomers.