Johns Creek has a constant claim that the traffic here is bad, although it is NOT the fault of our poorly timed and prioritized traffic lights. No instead it is because of the growth in areas around us that is the cause of our issues.
So I decided to dig into the numbers looking at what the last ten years have brought us in terms of population growth among Forsyth County, Johns Creek, Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton. What I found is amazing.
Fastest Growing in terms of % Growth: Forsyth County
While that is not a surprise the reason is rather simple: Forsyth County actually started with a much smaller total population than Johns Creek, Roswell, Alpharetta and Milton did ten years ago. Put simply they started with a lower headcount, which makes their percentage growth look higher.
Annualized Rate of Growth Over The Last Ten Years
- Forsyth County 3.67%
- Milton 2.79%
- Alpharetta 2.20%
- Johns Creek 1.75%
- Roswell 0.66%
There are no major surprises there. In fact you might look at the numbers for Johns Creek and say “AHA”! But that is not all there is to this story.
Density Per Square Mile
- Johns Creek 2665
- Alpharetta 2333
- Roswell 2249
- Milton 964
- Forsyth County 860
Density refers to the average number of people living per square mile.
Johns Creek is # 1 in density. We have today 2665 people living in every square mile of Johns Creek(on average). We are more than 15% denser than Alpharetta and more than three times denser than Forsyth County.
Now let’s get to the most interesting discovery. Who has been adding the most people per square mile over the last ten years-Forsyth County or a Fulton City?
Change in Density Per Square Mile Over Ten Years
- Alpharetta 456
- Johns Creek 425
- Forsyth County 260
- Milton 232
- Roswell 144
Johns Creek and Alpharetta are already dense and getting denser at a faster rate than even Forsyth County, despite it’s tremendous growth. Why is that?
It’s the size of the land where the growth is taking place, and the starting point of the population 10 years ago.
Size of Cities/Counties
- Forsyth County 247 Square Miles
- Roswell 42.01 Square Miles
- Milton 39.15 Square Miles
- Johns Creek 31.27 Square Miles
- Alpharetta 27.3 Square Miles
So if we take the four cites and compare them to Forsyth County on the number of people added per square mile, we find out that despite the growth in Forsyth County, the four cities are adding more people per square mile than Forsyth County.
Growth of Four Cities per Square Mile Over the Last Ten Years
314 New Residents Per Square Mile
Growth of Forsyth County per Square Mile Over the Last Ten Years
260 New Residents Per Square Mile
In fact the four cities are adding residents at a rate that is a whopping 20.7% faster than Forsyth County over the last ten years.
What is the result of the growth that we have seen over the last ten years on a per acre basis? The results are revealing. Forsyth County has less than two residents per acre on average, while Johns Creek has more than four residents per acre on average. So not only are we more dense than Forsyth County, we are adding density faster than Forsyth County.
Remember our zoning as you look at this chart. R-3, for instance allows 3 homes per acre. Many townhome communities have 7-9 units per acre. That translates to 20-30 more people per acre(which is one of the reasons why the densities are rising so fast in Johns Creek and Alpharetta).
In the chart below you can see that Forsyth County is less than half of the population when compared to the four other cities from North Fulton. And as Forsyth County is adding density at a slower pace than we are, Forsyth County’s portion of this pie will shrink unless we and the other cities put the brakes on increasing our densities.
So maybe we better look in the mirror when we start blaming others for our traffic congestion problems. We are packing in residents faster than they are, and there is no end in sight for this trend.
Is this what we really seek as the future of Johns Creek? To be the most densest populated City in the area?
Let’s hope not.