It was another remarkable week of discovery. Finding out about what’s going on and who’s doing what. The first discussion featured Mike Carnathan, Manager of Research and Analytics, from the Atlanta Regional Commission. A planning agency, the Commission spends its time analyzing EVERYTHING Atlanta: from population growth and housing trends to transportation and income. Mike shared a few key stats about our 8 county Atlanta region.
In addition to some of the most obvious information:
- We’ve been one of the fastest growing metros since the 90’s: 4th in population growth from 2010-2016 behind Dallas, Houston, and New York, and forecasted to grow by another 2.5 million people in the next 25 years
- Buckhead has the most wealth in the metro: it’s the 4th wealthiest area in the country behind San Francisco, San Jose, and DC (even wealthier than NYC or Boston)
Mike also informed us of the details that may not be as well-known:
- Gwinnett is the most diverse county in the Southeast
- The majority in metro Atlanta is non-white: we’re estimated to have a 35.9% white population in 2040 which will make Atlanta more like DC and Houston than have a profile like Boston or Philadelphia
- While we’ve been #1 in job growth year-over-year, outperforming the nation for the last 5 years, job earnings are lower today than in 1988. That means Atlanta has one of the highest rates of income equality – and poverty – in the nation
While important, information isn’t the solution. What’s being done to address these disparities is what matters more. That was the next day of discovery, when I attended the Atlanta Children’s Shelter’s Women’s Giving Circle annual luncheon. ACS helps homeless families become self-sufficient by providing free daycare and job training to parents in transition. Free daycare gives parents opportunities to pursue jobs that will provide food and shelter for their families. Free daycare also gives children who live in homeless shelters, experiencing day-to-day trauma and 4 times more likely to have developmental delays, a chance for a successful future. A chance everyone deserves.
In addition to showcasing a real-life success story, ACS hosted another presenter whose job is to support those children: the Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, Dr. Meria J. Carstarphen. Dr. Carstarphen – like ACS – advocates for supporting both the student and her family to ensure success. Serving a population of 51,000 students, of which 71% are receiving free and reduced meals and more than 2,000 are homeless, Dr. Carstarphen is making changes at the school system while also helping to set policy and direction so that the community can support her students too.
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