Fayette County: Changes are coming
Jack Bernard, a retired SVP with a large national healthcare firm, has worked extensively with hospitals across the nation regarding cost containment and insurance. He was also the first Director of Health Planning for Georgia.

Fayette County: Changes are coming

Jack Bernard is a retired healthcare SVP and nationally published columnist. He was the Chairman of the Republican Party and County Commission in Jasper County.

As opposed to other large growing Metro Atlanta Counties (Gwinnett, Henry, etc.), Fayette County is still red versus blue (Kemp won 56 percent of the vote here). Voting blue hasn’t happened in many of these other counties since the Ralph Reed led state-wide conversion of Dixiecrats to Republicans many years ago. But, get accustomed to it; that move towards the Democrats is not a quirk, or the only major change the Metro area has experienced over the years.
Over the years, Fayette has become more African-American. In 2000, Fayette was 84 percent white, per the Census. According to the 2017 Census Bureau estimate, Fayette is more diverse racially, with 69 percent white, 24 percent black, and various other ethnicities making up the remainder. These demographic changes are one key reason why the Democrats are doing better in the County.
Fayette is also one of the most affluent Georgia counties, with only Forsyth ahead. Income in 2017 was estimated at $82000, significantly above the state average, as well as the 20 county metro average of $56,000, which is close to the national average of $55,000. Income may be another key factor in moving the county towards the Democrats long-term. College educated people make more money than average and are more likely to vote Democrat, according to various polls.
Per a recently issued 2018 ARC (Atlanta Regional Commission) report, Fayette’s population has also increased over the last few decades, although not as rapidly as Gwinnett and some others. Fayette had a 17 percent rate of growth from 2000-2010 and 4 percent growth between 2010 and 2015. Current population is estimated at 111,000 with growth to 143,000 by 2040.
Per ARC’s 2018 Metro Atlanta Speaks Survey, of the 13 counties surveyed, Fayette residents were slightly less optimistic about the future of living conditions in the metro area (3-4 years) versus most other counties. Only 25 percent of Fayette County residents were optimistic versus 28 percent in the region.There are numerous local “problem” issues which county resident have identified: crime (29 percent); transportation (22); the economy (5); education (8); human services (9); race (7); taxes (3) and public health (5).
However, Fayette residents were less dissatisfied with their own neighborhood than other counties (7 percent versus 16). Likewise, Fayette citizens were also more satisfied with cultural and artistic opportunities. When asked, only 23 percent of Fayette residents stated that they would like to move out of the Atlanta metro area entirely versus 26 percent for the area as a whole.
There is much more in the ARC report which can be found at the following web-site:
https://cdn.atlantaregional.org/wp-content/uploads/mas-2018-full-report-ksu.pdf.
One thing is certain for Fayette County: there is more change to come. Whether changes are positive or negative will largely depend on its citizens and their elected representatives. So, get active now versus later on, whatever your views.