PHENIX CITY, AL: The state of Alabama is in the midst of a unique population shift. While many rural areas across the state are seeing drastic drops in population, some areas of the state are booming with population growth. Among the areas booming in population are two local counties in East Alabama that neighbor the city of Columbus.
Data released by the United States Census Bureau show that Lee County and Russell County are among the fastest growing counties in the state of Alabama. Both counties are seeing positive growth in population since the 2010 census.
Lee County which includes cities such as Auburn, Opelika, and Smiths Station has been showing the fastest growth. In 2010, Lee County had a population of 140,247 residents in the official census. Data released last week by the United States Census Bureau shows the county has grown 16.9% since 2010 and is now home to 163,941 residents.
Neighboring Russell County which includes much of Phenix City saw a 9.1% increase in population since 2010. Russell County saw its population rise from 52,941 residents in 2010 to 57,781 residents as of July of last year.
The data is impressive for the two local counties. Population data from the census bureau showed that 45 of Alabama’s 67 counties lost populations in 2018. Much of the loss was reported in the Alabama Black Belt of western Alabama. however some of Alabama’s population centers have seen population declines such as Montgomery County, home of the Alabama capital which has seen its population decline 1.6% over the past 9 years. Jefferson County which includes Alabama’s largest city, Birmingham saw a slight population increase of 0.1% since 2010.
The fastest growing county in Alabama is Baldwin County near the city of Mobile. While the Mobile area saw its population decline its suburban presence in Baldwin County has shown strong growth. Madison County which includes the city of Huntsville was the only large city in Alabama to show growth. Madison County saw its population increase by 9%.
The growth in East Alabama is evident as some of the communities of East Alabama have become suburbs to Columbus for some who are wishing to escape the urban problems of Columbus which now carries a population of 194,160 residents, making it Georgia’s third-largest city. Lower property taxes in East Alabama have brought some home buyers across the Chattahoochee as they wish to save money, but still have access to the city amenities such as shopping and entertainment provided in the city of Columbus.
Area’s like Auburn are booming as the city develops a new downtown skyline made up of numerous student housing complexes and mixed-use developments now in the works in the city of Auburn. The growth in Phenix City is evident on every side of the city as numerous construction projects now dot the city with new restaurants, industrial investment, residences, and retailers popping up almost daily in Phenix City.