Having trouble getting around in traffic in metro Atlanta these days? If so, you may want to stop reading now.

The Atlanta Regional Commission’s forecasts for the 20-county region through the year 2040 expects the addition of 2.5 million people – which is equivalent of adding the population of metropolitan Charlotte, North Carolina – and will bring the Atlanta region’s population to more than eight million.

ARC’s forecast is critical to metro Atlanta’s future, as it helps planners develop a long-range blueprint in response to the influx of newly minted metro Atlantans, including the investments that will be required over the next 25 years to make room for more people, and maintain the quality of life we now enjoy.

With a population of 1.35 million, Gwinnett County will become the region’s largest county by 2040, followed by Fulton with 1.26 million. Forsyth County’s population will more than double to more than 430,000.

The metro area’s population will also become more diverse. The population of adults 65 and over will soar, as lifespans increase and the Baby Boomer generation ages.

A fast-growing Hispanic population will reach 1.75 million, an increase of more than one million, with most of the growth occurring in Fulton, Gwinnett, DeKalb, and Clayton Counties. And Cobb, historically a mostly white suburb, may become a majority-minority county, as its black and Hispanic populations grow faster than the white population.

The face of leadership continues to change as well. Cobb County’s governing board, The Cobb County Commission, is now led by three women – JoAnn Birrell, Lisa Cupid and Keli Gambrill — along with two men, Mike Boyce, who serves as Chairman, and Bob Ott.

And Cobb’s Chamber of Commerce is led by Sharon Mason, who held five leadership positions there before being named president and CEO. Kim Menefee, who served as WellStar Health System’s vice president of public and government affairs, was recently named Executive Director of the Cumberland Community Improvement District, which is investing $230 million in capital improvements.

Cobb will also continue to benefit from the Atlanta Braves’ move to SunTrust Park. In an article in worth.com, Tom Werner, Chairman of the Boston Red Sox, notes that professional sports are more than just entertainment.

“It’s a connection that people have to their community and to their region, he writes. “It’s loyalty to a team that crosses generations, and also a commitment to communities and local charities.”

Charitable giving is a priority for most professional sports teams. The Atlanta Braves Foundation has awarded more than $360,000 to metro Atlanta non-profit organizations, including after-school programs, health and wellness programs, educational projects and local athletic programs.

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