Augusta’s population varies widely from night to day, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report that tracks daytime population shifts linked to commuter traffic.
The bureau’s American Community Survey, using numbers from 2006 to 2010 but released last month, shows that Augusta’s population swells by 32,204, or 16.6 percent, each day, while nearby bedroom communities lose population.
Columbia County’s unincorporated Evans community, for example, loses 5,736 residents, or 20.1 percent of its population. Nearby Martinez, also unincorporated, loses a smaller proportion – 11.9 percent, or 4,154 people.
Grovetown, which has grown rapidly in recent decades with many new subdivisions, loses the highest percentage of its population during the day – 26 – shedding 2,718 people, the study said, while North Augusta loses 9 percent, or 1,847 residents, during the day.
Augusta is among several area cities whose populations expand each day because of commuters. Aiken gains 38.1 percent, 10,978 people, the study said, and Thomson gains 22.1 percent, 1,484 people.
Waynesboro, in Burke County, gains 2,104 daytime inhabitants, raising its numbers by 37 percent.
The daytime population refers to the number of people, including workers, who are present in an area during normal business hours, the Census Bureau report said, and is in contrast to the “resident” population, which refers to people who reside in a given area and are typically present during the evening and nighttime hours.
Some other cities in the state grow tremendously with commuters during the day as well, according to a report published by the Athens Banner-Herald. Atlanta grows by 66.2 percent, according to the estimates. Only a handful of large U.S. cities show a bigger daytime growth than Georgia’s capital.