County sees increased growth over two-year census numbers

Published 5:01 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2023

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The 2022 county population estimates are in from the Census Bureau and Troup County has seen some increased growth in recent years but still lags behind much of the state in overall growth.

The estimated population numbers from the U.S. Census indicate that Troup County has seen an overall population growth of 764 residents from April 1, 2020, to July 1, 2022, for a 1.1% increase over the 27 months. Troup grew from 69,323 to 70,191 residents.

Most of the growth came from July 1, 2021, to July 1, 2022, which saw the population increase by 712.

Troup County remains the 34th ranked county by population, although in population growth since 2020 Troup is 73rd of Georgia’s 159 counties.

All of the growth came from migration to Troup County. The county saw a net decrease in natural population changes. Over the timeframe, Troup had 1,895 births and 2,095 deaths for a net loss of 200 residents.

The vast majority of the residents moving to Troup came through domestic migration. Only 126 (13.9%) of the 906 people who moved to Troup County came here internationally.

Nearby Coweta County saw much more growth at 4.6% over the two years, jumping from 146,154 to 152,882 residents. Coweta was ninth in the state in overall growth over the timeframe.

Similarly, Harris had a 4.6% population increase gaining 1,607 residents to hit 36,276 population. Harris was able to grow more percentage-wise than Troup due to their smaller population.

Like Troup, adjacent Heard and Meriwether had much smaller growth at 2.7% and 1.1% respectively. Heard gained 311 residents to hit 11,725 population. Meriwether gained 235 residents to hit 20,845 population.

County Commission Chairman Patrick Crews said he believes Troup may have grown more than the Census estimates indicate.

“We all know that the Census occurred during COVID,” Crews said. “I don’t know how much faith you should put in it, but I don’t want to argue with the numbers. I’ll leave it for what it is.”

One of the biggest issues to growth in Troup County in recent years has been worker availability. Troup County has been able to attract major manufacturers with Kia Motors and more recently Remington Arms, but hiring employees has been a struggle. That’s not a problem that’s unique to Troup County but many place the blame on the lack of local workforce housing.

Crews acknowledged the issue and said workforce and housing issues should be improving soon.

“All that ties back to the housing. [Companies] kept telling us the people aren’t here because we didn’t have housing. I think all of us are kind of hedging that once we get more housing — particularly apartments — that we’ll see more people move here,” Crews said.

“About a year from now, I think we’re going to have a lot more units of housing. I think that bodes well for an increase in our population,” he said.

Crews mentioned several housing developments under construction will help provide homes for new residents, including developments on Davis Rd. near the Elks Lodge, another at the former Legion golf course on Hamilton Rd., and the one near the upcoming Publix on Vernon St. in LaGrange.

“I think that to a large degree the free market is kind of addressing its own problem,” Crews said. “This was just the private market that has come in and saw the need, and they’re building.”

Crews said the county and the city of LaGrange are helping provide the infrastructure, but the private market is fueling this growth.

“Mainly the city does the water and utilities and those type things, but from the county, we’re running the water line out to the new Rosemont school, which I think is going to create some opportunities to help kind of stretch the growth out a little bit on that side of town,” Crews said.

Crews acknowledged with growth comes other challenges, including traffic. He said GDOT is doing a traffic study of the entire county, which will potentially help with traffic.

“Those of us who have lived here a long time know that Vernon Road and Morgan Street have a lot of traffic. There’s a lot of comments from the people that live here, ‘Well, we sure are getting a lot more traffic,’” Crews said.

“The traffic study should certainly help us identify what we should be addressing. We are working with DOT and have been in conversations for several years now about U.S. 27 and the sharp curve out there. We’re trying to address that we’d like to see them take that road and take it over to I-85 and I-185 so that we could take out a lot of truck traffic off of Morgan St.” Crews explained.

Crews said with growth also comes the need for additional recreation opportunities, noting plans for the multi-field soccer complex at the former Whitesville Road School.

“We’re trying to increase recreational opportunities there. We’re working in several different areas,” Crews said.

The county recently helped cut the ribbon on renovated William J. Griggs Recreation Center and is looking for funding for the next phase of the project, which he said will include a pool.