Census shows slight growth

Augusta retained its status as the state's second-largest city in the latest U.S. Census numbers, but it is growing at a snail's pace.

The consolidated city -- which doesn't include Hephzibah and Blythe -- grew a little less than 1 percent during the Census Bureau's reporting period from July 1, 2007, to July 1, 2008. Augusta's population went from 192,407 to 194,149, according to census estimates.

The pace of growth ranked fifth among the 10 Georgia cities with populations of at least 50,000. Atlanta had the highest growth rate, 3.4 percent, and was ranked 13th on the list of fastest-growing U.S. cities with populations of at least 100,000.

Hephzibah had the highest growth rate among the three incorporated areas in Richmond County. The city's population increased 2 percent, from 4,437 to 4,533, while Blythe's grew by 0.9 percent, from 797 to 804. (A small part of Blythe falls in Burke County.)

In Columbia County, Grovetown's population grew by nearly 6 percent -- from 8,721 to 9,224. Harlem's growth was just over 2 percent, from 2,012 to 2,057.

Richmond County's total population of 199,486 -- which includes Blythe and Hephzibah -- is only 289 fewer than at the start of this decade after years of reported decline. However, much of that total is the result of what is termed natural population increase.

From April 1, 2000, to July 1, 2008, an estimated 9,922 more people left Richmond County than moved in, the third-highest negative net migration in Georgia during that time. Only DeKalb (18,827) and Liberty (11,706) had a higher negative amount among the state's 159 counties, according to census estimates. However, the number of births in Richmond County far surpassed deaths. There were 26,399 births in the nine-year period compared with 15,682 deaths, giving the county a natural population increase of 10,717.

Reach Mike Wynn at (706) 823-3218 or mike.wynn@augustachronicle.com.

GROWTH ACROSS GEORGIA

Growth among cities in Georgia with populations of at least 50,000 from July 1, 2007 to July 1, 2008.

City2007 pop.2008 pop.Change
Atlanta520,368537,9583.4 percent
Warner Robins59,60160,9442.2 percent
Athens-Clarke111,951113,3981.3 percent
Augusta192,409194,1490.9 percent
Roswell87,22287,6740.5 percent
Albany75,79975,8310.4 percent
Savannah132,063132,4100.3 percent
Sandy Springs82,87982,674-0.2 percent
Macon93,19192,775-0.4 percent

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

GROWTH ACROSS THE AREA

Growth among Augusta-Aiken-area cities and towns from July 1, 2007, to July 1, 2008:

RICHMOND COUNTY POPULATION

City20072008
Augusta192,409194,149
Hephzibah4,4374,533
Blythe797804*

(*a small part of Blythe falls in Burke County)

COLUMBIA COUNTY POPULATION

City20072008
Grovetown8,7219,224
Harlem2,0122,057

AIKEN COUNTY POPULATION

City20072008
Aiken29,21529,434
Burnettown2,6542,665
Jackson1,6401,647
Monetta142142
New Ellenton2,2352,227
North Augusta20,11320,547
Perry238239
Salley412414
Wagener873875
Windsor131131

Source: U.S. Census Bureau