Fayette Board of Education study shows trend: More old folks, fewer young ones

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Another indication of changes in Fayette County is in. A demographic study performed for the Fayette County Board of Education shows that Fayette has a rapidly aging population and continues to lose school-age children.

The study projects that, by 2025, the Fayette population aged 60 and over will jump to nearly 34 percent of the total county population while the school-aged population will fall to 18 percent.

Performed by Education Planners LLC, one of the numerous data sets provided in the study provided an age demographic breakdown comparing age groupings in 2017 to age groupings in 2025.

The study, which looked at the 2017 estimated population and the estimate projected for 2025, broke down the age demographics in 10-year increments, such as 0-9, 10-19, 20-29 and so on.

The age ranges 0-19 encompasses Fayette residents from newborn until age 19, clearly on both sides of the school-age range.

Fayette’s 0-19 population in 2017 represented approximately 23 percent of the total population. The 0-19 age range will fall to approximately 18 percent of the population in 2025. That said, the study estimated that public schools would gain nearly 600 students by 2023 another 360 by 2028.

Fayette’s population aged 60 and beyond accounted for approximately 26 percent of the total county population in 2017. That number will jump to approximately 34 percent of the county population in 2025.

The reality of the rapid change in age demographics has been an occasional topic in this newspaper.

Census data compiled by The Citizen shows another view of the situation in Fayette County. This view looks at affluence in 2015.

So where does Fayette County stand compared to other affluent counties in the state in terms of the the percentages of residents under 18 and those 65 and older? The following are Georgia’s 10 most affluent counties, ranked by affluence, and the percentage of those under 18 compared to those 65 and older in 2015:

– Oconee County – 26.6 percent compared to 14.1 percent

– Forsyth County – 28.6 percent compared to 11.4 percent

– Fayette County – 23.5 percent compared to 16.9 percent (and 12.71 in 2010)

– Fulton County – 22.9 percent compared to 10.8 percent

– Cobb County – 24.6 percent compared to 11 percent

– Harris County – 21.7 percent compared to 17.3 percent

– Cherokee County – 25.7 percent compared to 12.5 percent

– Columbia County – 25.9 percent compared to 12 percent

– DeKalb County – 23.7 percent compared to 10.7 percent

– Bryan County – 29.1 percent compared to 10.4 percent

Note that Fayette had the second highest percentage of seniors and the second lowest percent of school-age children. Now a few years later, that trend continues.

The Education Planners study for the school system showed that Fayette County’s total population in 2015 was estimated at 110,975 and at 111,742 in 2017. The population by 2040 is projected to increase to 143,255.

The Education Planners study projected Fayette by 2040 to have the fourth slowest total population increase of the 20 central core metro Atlanta counties. Only Clayton, Cobb and DeKalb counties will see slower growth.

Sources for the multi-faceted study that centered on educational issues, included sources such as the Georgia Department of Education, Atlanta Regional Commission, Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, Georgia Department of Public Health, U.S. Census Bureau, Fayette County School System, Fayette County Planning and Zoning and data provided by the county’s municipalities.

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