HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — We've been telling you for the last few years that Houston County is booming. Now, new census data estimates further confirm that fact.
Back in 2018, Houston County was estimated to be bigger than Bibb County for the first time.
In 2021, the margin is getting even wider and it's easy to see.
With the official 2020 U.S. Census Bureau results still pending, the estimate now shows Bibb County's population at close to 153,000.
Houston County's estimate now sits at 160,000.
That's a difference of about 7,000 people.
You can see that growth in construction and the housing market.
"I'll be honest with you, it's probably the hottest it's been in years," Jim Taylor with Robins Building Supply said back in 2019. "You know, '08 was devastating to the construction industry. A lot of business went out, a lot of contractors went out. But over the last couple years, it's been an explosive amount of growth."
You can also see it in the new industries coming to the county like Frito Lay, Sandler and Interfor just to name a few.
"I mean this thing is growing like crazy right now and we're really excited about the growth," Mayor Randy Toms said back in 2020.
You can also see it in the new, locally owned businesses popping up, even during the height of pandemic.
Like Mini Dixie Donuts.
"We're all in it together, we're such a tight-knit community, so anything we can do to help each other," said owner Ashley James.
Robins Air Force is also a main driver of that growth. Their economic impact last year was $3.54 billion.
But with all that growth, comes growing pains.
Warner Robins is in the process of upgrading their water system to accommodate all the new infrastructure.
"Without sewer and water you don't have growth, said Utilities Director Montie Walters last year. "Some of the lines are at capacity and some of the lines are almost at capacity."
Warner Robins Police and Fire are constantly working to hire more people as the population gets bigger and their patrol areas get wider.
"We grew exponentially very quickly. Infrastructure wise, police and fire wise, we weren't able to grow as quick," said Chief John Wagner in 2020.
The county has also said they are working to build a skilled workforce right here at home to prepare for the new industries coming in.
The last official census was in 2010 and back then, Bibb County had 155,000 people in the county, compared to 139,000 in Houston County at the time.
The official 2020 census results are expected to come out in September.