Habersham County: Environmental Scan
From 2000 to 2010, the population of Habersham County increased by 7,139 people from 35,902 in 2000 to 43,041 in 2010. This is a 19.86% increase in the overall population in a ten-year period.
Habersham has the largest population when compared to its surrounding counties of Banks (18,395), Rabun (16,276), Stephens (26,175), Towns (10,471), and White (27,144). In this same ten year period, the largest percentage change in population was in White County at 36.1 %, the smallest change was in Stephens County at 2.9%. The populations of Habersham County’s cities are as follows:
- Tallulah Falls – 168
- Alto – 1,172
- Mount Airy – 1,284
- Clarkesville – 1,733
- Demorest – 1,823
- Baldwin – 3,279
- Cornelia – 4,160
- Unincorporated – 29,422
TOTAL – 43,041
In Habersham County, 6.7% of the population is under 5 years old; 20% is age 5-19 years old; 31.9% is 20-44 years old; 26.1% is 45-64 years old; and 15.4% are over age 65 years old. In Towns County, 29.2% of the population is over 65 years old, verses Banks County where only 12.5% of the population falls into that age group.
Of the total population in Habersham, 85% is white, 3% is black and 12% is Hispanic. From 2000 to 2010, these groups had the following percentage changes in their population: white, 15.6% increase; black, 10.3% decrease; and the Hispanic population increased 93.9%.
Of the entire population in Habersham County, 11.5% has a Bachelor’s degree or higher, 18.8 have some college education, 31.8% has completed high school, 18.5% has completed 9-12th grades but has no diploma, and 12.1% has less than a 9th grade education attainment level.
The graduation rate for the class of 2011 was 68.4% (versus the state rate at 67.5%). However, the surrounding counties had the following rates: Banks at 77.5%; Rabun at 90.4%; Stephens at 82%; Towns at 88.4% and White at 86.5%.
The per capita income (PCI) for Habersham County, as of 2009, was $27,177 (ranking them 86th out of 159 counties in the state). This was a 6.9% increase from 2000. Of their surrounding counties, Towns County had the highest PCI at $33,677 and White had the lowest at $26,544. The Georgia average in 2009 was $34,129.
In 2010, the median household income for the US was $51,914. In Georgia it was $46,252 and in Habersham County it was $40,316. The lowest surrounding county was Stephens at $34,445 and the highest was Banks at $42,196.
Based on 2010 estimates, 7055 people (17.3% of the population) in Habersham County live below the poverty level. In surrounding counties, at 22.2%, Stephens County has the highest percentage of the population living in poverty; Towns County has the lowest percentage at 15%.
Like the rest of the state and nation, unemployment rates in Habersham County have increased greatly since 2007. In 2007, the unemployment rate in Habersham was 4%; in 2008 it rose to 5.6%; in 2009 it increased to 9.6%, and in 2010 remained relatively constant at 9.8%. In 2011, the unemployment rate dipped slightly back to 9.6% (versus Georgia’s rate at 9.8% and the US rate at 8.9%).
Six percent of the business establishments in Habersham County are manufacturing, yet manufacturing employees 25% of the local workforce. Another 7% of the business establishments are government and employ 23% of the total workforce. Retail establishments comprise 18% of the establishments in Habersham County and employ 12% of the workforce. The average wage for Habersham County was $592.
In 2009, there were 17,149 resident workers 16 years of age or older working in Habersham County. Sixty seven percent of residents worked in Habersham County and 33% of residents worked outside of the county.
In the 2008 Retail Sales Analysis, it was determined that Habersham County’s total retail sales were $248,036. Pull factors indicate that the county is selling to a greater market than the local population in retail sales of health-personal care, building materials and garden equipment supplies, gas stations, and general merchandise. Pull factors also indicated that the county is losing shoppers to surrounding counties for motor vehicle parts, furniture (home furnishings and appliances), clothing and accessories, food services-drinking places, and food-beverage stores. Overall, pull factors indicate that total retail sales in Habersham meet local shopping needs.
The 2010 Census estimates the total housing units in Habersham County is 18,146 with 11,596 of those being occupied units. Of those occupied, 74.9% were owner-occupied and 25.1% were renter-occupied. Of the total Housing units, 3466 (19.1%) are mobile homes.
Similarly to other counties in the area, 59.2% of the county property tax digest of Habersham is residential. With 17.3% from agricultural properties, Habersham County lies in the middle with Banks and White Counties bringing in more agricultural property tax and Rabun, Stephens and Towns Counties bringing in about half as much. With 10.1% in commercial property tax, Habersham County and the surrounding area fall below the average in Georgia of 23.6%. With 3.7% in industrial property tax, Habersham County does not meet the Georgia average of 6.1% or the neighboring Stephens County’s 9.8%.
For more demographics of Habersham County, visit www.quickfacts.census.gov