Census data from the 2010 census shows the population for the state of Georgia was 9,687,653. This data reflects growth of 1,501,200 from 2000 to 2010, an 8.4% increase. Likewise, Cobb County’s population grew from just over 600,000 in 2000 to 688,078 in 2010, an 8.8% jump.
During the same period of time, Kennesaw experienced much faster growth. Now the ninth largest city in the metro area by population, Kennesaw saw an increase of over 8,000, growing from 21,675 to 29,783, a 34.4% jump. While other Cobb County cities showed a significant drop in the age 10-29 group, Kennesaw recorded a 3.5% increase, which might be attributed to the explosive growth of Kennesaw State University, located just adjacent to the city’s geographic boundaries. The rapid growth of Kennesaw’s population is indicative of the city’s favorable location with respect to transportation (I-75 and US Highway 41) as well as abundant housing options across a broad economic spectrum.
One of the most striking features of Kennesaw's growth over the last 25 years has been the advances in educational levels. In 1970, for example, about 20% of residents had only elementary school education while 6% (3,548 residents) were college graduates. Now the situation is reversed with 20% of city residents being college graduates and only 5% with elementary-level education. Although national educational levels have also risen since 1970, Kennesaw's levels have surpassed national, state and regional increases. Between 1980 and 1990 the percentage of high school graduates in Kennesaw grew by 27%, compared to 20% for the Atlanta Region, 18% for Cobb County and 13% for the United States.
The growth in educational achievement rates can be attributed to the suburbanization of Kennesaw. Most of the new residents are employed and, as typical workers in the Atlanta economy, have roughly the same demographics of the region as a whole. The typical new resident has at least some college. Judging from trends in Cobb County as a whole and allowing for the local situation, as many as one-third of new residents are college graduates. As the price of the average house in Kennesaw continues to rise, educational levels can be expected to rise even more due to the strong relationship between income and education.
Kennesaw is not just an area with impressive job growth, it is an area that will share in more jobs during the next 20 years than any other part of the Atlanta Region. The growth is a direct consequence of Town Center Mall, located at the convergence of I-75 and I-575, just over a mile from the western end of Kennesaw. The area containing the mall and the stretch of I-75 near the mall will grow from 7,383 jobs in 1990 to 44,000 in 2020, while the Kennesaw Census Tract will grow from 3,000 jobs in 1990 to 12,000 jobs in 2020.
It is important to note the differences in employment by sector for the two tracts. Retail is the dominant sector in both tracts, but in the Town Center tract it accounts for 54% of all jobs, only 41% in the Kennesaw tract. By 2020, both economies will diversify in relative terms, with retail accounting for 44% of Town Center jobs and 35% of Kennesaw jobs, along with 28% for services and 13% for government.
Since 1969, Kennesaw's median household income has been higher than the per capita income in comparison to Georgia. The higher household income can in part be attributed to higher per capita incomes, but also significant is the larger household size and higher labor force participation rates for Kennesaw. The combined factors provide for more people in a house with more of them in the work force. Both of Kennesaw's income measures have traditionally been lower than Cobb County's, though due to Kennesaw's larger household size, household incomes have been closer to Cobb's level than the per capita income measure.
For additional demographic information, visit the US Census Bureau.