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By the numbers
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The U.S. Census numbers are in and Newton County was a winner in the past decade, but population growth was less than estimated.

The county was one of the fastest-growing in Georgia, with a 61 percent increase in population from 2000, but estimates had ranged from 100,000 to 105,000.

It seems as if The Great Recession took its toll here, too. One planner, Steve Cumblidge of the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, said foreclosures and vacancy rates possibly accounted for the discrepancies.

There is an upside to the downturn: That difference between projections and the actual count indicates that we’ve been given a bit of a respite from breakneck-speed growth.

That’s a good thing. If we are wise, we will use this time to ensure that growth is better managed.

Standards have already been tightened on who qualifies for home loans, which should lessen the chances of future foreclosures.

Constructions standards need to be enforced to prevent slipshod work, and the long-range master plan for growth needs to be adhered to.

Jobs will return. Vacant and foreclosed homes will find new owners and neighborhoods will be stabilized.

The decade may be off to a slow start, but we believe our population will continue to grow and that Newton County will again be among the leaders in growth in the state in the 2020 Census.