Augusta still Georgia's second-largest city

Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 12:39 AM
Last updated Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013 7:47 AM
  • Follow Latest News

We’re still No. 2, in a maybe, sorta, kind of way.

After playing Pepsi to Atlanta’s Coke as the state’s second-largest city since the mid-1990s, the latest U.S. cen­sus estimates put the Garden City third behind Colum­bus/­Mus­cogee in population. According to 2012 estimates, Columbus’ population is 198,413 residents – or 541 more than the city of Au­gusta.

But the key word, said one Augusta official, is estimates.

“One-time projections are not a major concern to me,” said Mayor Deke Copenhaver, who is aware of the numbers but doesn’t put too much stock into what some call “soft data.”

Augusta’s population became a hot topic last week when Georgia Regents University President Ricardo Azziz told state system Board of Regents members that the city had seen a 10 percent decrease in residents. In actuality, Richmond County had grown by 6 percent from 1990 to the last official census in 2010.

And, the official census count matters most when making proclamations of where a city ranks in terms of population, said a spokeswoman with the federal agency that keeps tally.

“For official purposes, determining the state’s second-largest city would be based off the 2010 census, because that is the last full count of the population,” said Virginia Hyer, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Census Bureau.

Given that, Augusta holds on to its No. 2 position behind Atlanta. The 2010 census put the city of Augusta’s population at 195,844, nearly 6,000 more than Columbus.

But, Augusta’s stay at No. 2 won’t last much longer, said Columbus Mayor Teresa Tom­linson.

That’s because 20,000 soldiers and civilians have moved to her area, mostly because of Defense Department base realignment, she said.

Tomlinson expects the estimates to remain steady until 2020, when she says her city will officially claim its spot as Georgia’s second-largest.

“To an extent, there is competition, but it is a healthy competition,” said Tomlinson, who has a close relationship with Copenhaver and considers Augusta and Columbus sister cities.

How each city counts its population does play a role in where it ranks. Columbus counts all of Muscogee County, which it consolidated with in 1971, whereas Au­gusta, which became a consolidated government when it merged with Richmond County in 1996, doesn’t count residents in the county’s other two municipalities.

So yes, blame the confusion on Blythe and Hephzibah, which declined a chance to become part of the consolidated city government.

“Oh definitely,” Blythe Mayor Pro Tem Emory Myers said when asked whether his town is still happy about not merging with Augusta. “We are an older community that likes having its own way of doing business and enjoys being independent.”

Hyer said population projections provide accurate and reliable data, but added that they are not a precise door-to-door head count, such as the ones taken every 10 years by the Census Bureau.

“The census is counting everybody at their homes,” she said. “Our population estimates, which we do annually, use the most recent census as a base, but then we take into account deaths, births and migration from different sources to see where things are headed for individual places.”

Federal documents show estimates are calculated using birth, death and migration records collected by the National Center for Health Statistics, American Community Survey and Defense Manpower Data Center.

And though being the second-largest city in the state might be a source of pride to some, economic development officials say the label doesn’t carry much tangible weight.

“What businesses want to know about the community is its workforce,” said Walter Sprouse, the executive director of the Augusta Economic Development Authority, who noted St. Petersburg is the fourth-most-populous city in Florida, but because of its large number of retirees, is rarely seen as a strong candidate for new industry.

“They want to know about training, transportation, traffic flow, utilities and quality of life. Somewhere along the line, maybe on Page 11, they’ll ask what population stats (are) from the last census and we give it to them. That’s it.”

But that hasn’t stopped the city from using the No. 2 ranking as a marketing tool. In the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s business and lifestyle guide, the city is introduced as Georgia’s second-largest and the heart of a metropolitan area that includes a half million people.

Margaret Woodard, the executive director of the Downtown Augusta Economic Development Authority, said city leaders don’t often bring it up.

“A lot of people don’t know Augusta is the second-largest city,” she said. “Many assume it’s Savannah or Columbus, and only if asked, would we say we are the second-largest city.”

POPULATION ESTIMATES

At the state, county and city levels, the resident population is calculated by taking the base population for the latest census count and subtracting deaths from the number of people who have migrated or been born in a certain area.

Census documents show birth and death certificates are collected by the National Center for Health Statistics and migration records are kept by the American Community Survey and Defense Manpower Data Center.

2012 ESTIMATE 2010 CENSUS

Augusta 197,872 195,844

Richmond County 202,587 200,549

Columbus 198,413 189,855

Muscogee County 198,413 189,855

Comments (26) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
countyman
20129
Points
countyman 11/16/13 - 03:37 am
3
10
Augusta is the second largest metro

I hardly doubt anybody thinks Columbus is the second largest city in Georgia. The majority of people choose Savannah then Augusta and sometimes Macon. The overwhelmingly majority of people in the US think of Columbus Ohio and not the city in Georgia. The city limits across the US don't matter in 2013 and the metro area is the most important thing. Chatham County(Savannah) is the largest county(276k in 2012) outside of metro Atlanta and Savannah would become the second largest city if they consolidated with different parts of the county.

After the year 2014 Columbus will have to start relying on the city itself and not the 20k to 30K they received from BRAC recently to foster growth. The city of Augusta is doing much better things in terms of attracting normal growth.

The MSA of Augusta experienced the biggest change among the other larger cities in Georgia in the 2010 estimate(not census). The gap between the official 2010 census and the April 2010 estimate is almost 8,000 people... The census uses the 2010 estimate to determine the growth between 2010-2012...

Augusta
2010 census 556,877
2010 estimate 564,871
2012 estimate: 575,898

The population of metro Savannah and Columbus barley change from the 2010 census to the 2010 estimate..
Savannah- 347,611 to 347,621
Columbus- 294,865 to 294,869

Augusta is second largest metro and that's why more national retailers(Apple, Costco, H&M, Cabela's, Pandora, Michael Kors, Sephora)are located here.

2012 estimates
1. Augusta 575k
2. Savannah 361k
3. Columbus 310k

owensjef3
5639
Points
owensjef3 11/16/13 - 09:32 am
5
5
thanks county man , it's all
Unpublished

thanks county man , it's all clear now.

soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 11/16/13 - 11:27 am
1
0
Being NUMBER TWO sure fits with ARC. "You can make numbers
Unpublished

mean anything you want"--Ronnie Strenth

soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 11/16/13 - 11:29 am
1
0
If the "soft numbers" had supported growth in ARC we would view
Unpublished

"soft number" as credible. Next ARC will include all of the CSR of A.

soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 11/16/13 - 11:31 am
1
0
Deke needs to move on the Washington. He has a gift for
Unpublished

numerical manipulation that makes him a natural career politician. Just take his handlers and ghost writers with him.

soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 11/16/13 - 11:36 am
1
0
Augusta without redistributed federal tax funds? Want to guess?
Unpublished

No fort, no SRS, no medical complex, no riverwalk, no hole in Broad St., no Washington Rd strip malls, no urban sprawl, no Bobby Jones Exp.,

soapy_725
43678
Points
soapy_725 11/16/13 - 11:38 am
1
0
Just another backwater, southern town bypassed by an interstate.
Unpublished

Just another backwater, southern town bypassed by an interstate.

Gage Creed
17256
Points
Gage Creed 11/16/13 - 08:08 pm
8
1
FACTS are pesky things!

No need for sources.. just make them up as you go along... you can even make your facts not agree with your assertions... (smh)

Math is not for everyone.... Observe....

575K / 556.8K Yields a 3.26% increase for Augusta over 2 years

310K / 294.8K Yields a 5.15% increase for Columbus over 2 years

Therefore the population Columbus has grown 57.9% faster than the population of Augusta over the last 2 years... Using the "FACTS" supplied.

Pops
8550
Points
Pops 11/16/13 - 09:03 pm
4
1
How does Augusta's slum area

rank in the state?

GnipGnop
12241
Points
GnipGnop 11/16/13 - 09:07 pm
5
2
This has nothing to do with why they are here.....

Augusta is second largest metro and that's why more national retailers(Apple, Costco, H&M, Cabela's, Pandora, Michael Kors, Sephora)are located here. They are here because they know they can pull money from several counties in one area that are located on a major interstate. It has nothing to do with the population of Augusta but everything to do with what matters most LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION!!!

Riverman1
84110
Points
Riverman1 11/16/13 - 09:12 pm
6
2
Heh, Heh, Heh

"The overwhelmingly majority of people in the US think of Columbus Ohio and not the city in Georgia."

You just have to love some of Countyman's posts.

Gage Creed
17256
Points
Gage Creed 11/16/13 - 09:17 pm
8
1
The First Mate on the Santa

The First Mate on the Santa Maria was overheard to say...I think I see Ohio Columbus....

GnipGnop
12241
Points
GnipGnop 11/16/13 - 09:41 pm
7
1
Well he could have mistaken it for....

wait for it......North Richmond!!

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 11/16/13 - 10:58 pm
1
8
Facts

Why do the same people love to bash Augusta daily? The same people also believe the suburban counties of Augusta can bring more growth to the entire CSRA compared to Richmond.

Who exactly is Gage Creed referring to? I don't remember anybody saying that metro Augusta grew faster than Columbus in the last two years.

The amount of population definitely matters in terms of attracting national chains. Why do you think metro Atlanta has multiple Costco's, Apple stores, Whole Foods, etc and metro Augusta has one?

The new Genghis Grill in the Augusta Exchange area of West Augusta is a smaller resturant and demanded certain demographics.

1. Daytime population: 35k within three miles
2. Avg household income: $65k within three miles
3. Residential population: 75k within three miles
http://www.genghisgrill.com/files/realestate.pdf

How could anybody think major retailers like Costco or Cabela's don't have population requirements?

Im sure that many people in the metro/CSRA really do love shopping at the Ikea in Atlanta and even wish the store would open somewhere in Augusta. The only problem is the city must have at least 2 million people within 40-60 miles of the Ikea store.

Gage Creed
17256
Points
Gage Creed 11/16/13 - 10:55 pm
4
2
Facts are amazing when you make them up!

Q : "Who exactly is Gage Creed referring to? I don't remember anybody saying that metro Augusta grew faster than Columbus in the last two years."

A :"The MSA of Augusta experienced the biggest change among the other larger cities in Georgia in the 2010 estimate(not census)."

So... were you wrong then... or are you wrong now? I'm waiting with bated breath for your snarky retort. (over-exaggerated eye-roll)

Q :What's that tune in the back ground?

A: It's The Spin Doctors with their hit... "Little Miss Can't be Wrong"

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 11/16/13 - 11:17 pm
1
6
Fact

What does the 2010 estimate have to do with the year 2012? Your 7:08 comments included the metro populations in the 2012 estimate and not the 2010 estimate compared to the official census. I clearly said that Augusta experience the biggest change among the ''2010 estimates''. My comments were also in relation to the raw number and not the actual percentages either. Either way it doesn't matter because Augusta had a faster percentage growth rate and more people in total number(2010 estimate).

2010 census/2010 estimate
Augusta 556,877 to 564,871
Savannah- 347,611 to 347,621
Columbus- 294,865 to 294,869

How is this not considered the 'biggest change'?
Augusta= 7994
Savannah= 10
Columbus= 4

harley_52
23424
Points
harley_52 11/16/13 - 11:16 pm
2
5
"Why do the same people love to bash Augusta daily?"

Great question. Damned if I can figure it out.

Gage Creed
17256
Points
Gage Creed 11/16/13 - 11:17 pm
6
2
FACTS are pesky things!

You might want to check the calendar... this is 2013!

Bless your heart!

harley_52
23424
Points
harley_52 11/16/13 - 11:46 pm
2
4
"You just have to love some of Countyman's posts."

I agree.

I find them positive and informative.

It's refreshing to hear positive comments once in a while rather than the constant negativity and purposeful insults.

Gage Creed
17256
Points
Gage Creed 11/17/13 - 12:03 am
6
1
FACTS are pesky things!

It's also refreshing to get an honest assessment, rather than the redundant laundry list of propaganda that provides the best spin and advances the agenda of the local power brokers.

KSL
129901
Points
KSL 11/17/13 - 12:46 am
3
2
By hook or crook.

How many crooks are keeping up that number?

Don't get me wrong. There are several places in Aiken County that need to be taken out.Yt?

Bizkit
31505
Points
Bizkit 11/17/13 - 02:26 am
2
1
Cage I get how you calculated

Cage I get how you calculated the percent change. But you didn't calculate rate of change, but the percent change again. That isn't the average or percent rate of change.

Gage Creed
17256
Points
Gage Creed 11/17/13 - 09:13 am
3
0
@Bizkit

Your analysis is spot on... that's exactly what I was trying to emphasize. Some of our fellow posters will manipulate stats to promote their position.

countyman for example, provided a laundry list of data, but chose only to emphasis the data set that supported his position, not the most current data.

bclicious
718
Points
bclicious 11/17/13 - 09:51 am
1
0
Unlikely

This seems so hard to believe. Almost like propaganda.

countyman
20129
Points
countyman 11/17/13 - 11:01 am
1
3
Don't shoot the messenger

Gage creed... Please don't blame me for your mistakes.

I also need to inform you how the estimates work. The census uses the 2010 estimate population(564k) to determine the 2010 to 2012 growth rate. Your 7:08 comment included the 2010 census population(556k) to come up with your growth rate.

thauch12
6670
Points
thauch12 11/17/13 - 11:02 am
3
0
Chill...

This is an interesting pissing contest but the facts remain that regardless of which city is the second largest in Georgia, they ALL play second fiddle to metro Atlanta where half of the state's population, wealth, and problems lie.

In the words of countyman (sort of), "The overwhelmingly majority of people in the US think of [Atlanta] and not [any other city] in Georgia."

Now that's not to say that Augusta, Columbus, Macon or any other city is not important, but the fact of the matter is that no matter how you slice it, Atlanta is going to get the attention.

dichotomy
33017
Points
dichotomy 11/17/13 - 02:24 pm
2
0
Second largest city.....third

Second largest city.....third largest city......it doesn't really matter as long as we have our Third World government that destroys one part of the "city" in a failed attempt to resurrect another part.

I really look forward to them raising my property taxes to be spent DOWNTOWN while I watch this puss filled sore fester in South Augusta.

Sweet son
10415
Points
Sweet son 11/17/13 - 02:25 pm
2
1
@harley

Some of the Augusta bashing in this forum is all countyman's fault! As Gage says we just get tired of his laundry lists of items that support his position. We are all glad that he is as strong a supporter of ARC as he is but sometimes we just get enough!

I always get at least one thumbs down on my comments whatever they are I just wonder who it might be? The worst thing is that he doesn't take his 'thumbs down' as a hint to lighten up.

countyman doesn't care for me calling his posts 'epistles.' My ADHD won't let me read them especially since I already know what he is going to say.

Don't get mad countyman! As I said we are glad that you do what you do and yes, I pick a bit much sometimes. :)

Gage Creed
17256
Points
Gage Creed 11/17/13 - 03:18 pm
0
0
Facts are Pesky Things

"Gage creed... Please don't blame me for your mistakes"

Amazing.... I bet you are a hoot at the fair... but you better keep you money in your fanny pack at the shoe show...

Do you have a math phobia? If you compare the 2010 census to the 2012 estimate using the the stats YOU provided you get the numbers I produced. As Bizkit pointed out, the percentage of change does not equal the RATE of change, that was my countyman imitation (making the numbers meet my agenda), nevertheless the percentage change is accurate and you sir, are disingenious as you continue to promote your agenda, no matter the facts.

GnipGnop
12241
Points
GnipGnop 11/17/13 - 08:03 pm
1
1
Wait a minute....

isn't the same poster always telling us that millions come to Augusta just to see the riverwalk but then tell us that when people think of Georgia they only think of Atlanta????

Back to Top

Top headlines

Vogtle workers see both reactor projects

Some veterans of the nuclear industry were at the site south of Augusta to see the complex network of rebar and concrete rising out of the ground in the 1970s and ’80s. Now, they are back.
Search Augusta jobs