The U.S. Census dubbed Baldwin County the fastest-growing county in Alabama last year, and the effects of the area's recent population boom has been seen across facets of the community.The jump from …
The U.S. Census dubbed Baldwin County the fastest-growing county in Alabama last year, and the effects of the area's recent population boom has been seen across facets of the community.
The jump from 182,265 residents in 2010 to 231,767 in 2020 was a 65.1% increase that brought increased attention on and popularity and accolades to the once sleepy farming county. Baldwin had become the fourth-largest county in the state, based on population.
The bump also brought long lines of visitors who snarl traffic, jacked apartment rent and home prices above the heads of many average longtime families and prioritized the need to build more schools and other amenities, fast.
Between six and eight million tourists visited each of the last couple of years. People moving to town have helped increase the confidence of business and restaurant owners to open, expand or move to where they are.
Now, about one in four Baldwin County residents were born in the county. Family farms that measured hundreds of acres have been sold to housing developers, and national chains that once would never consider Alabama have poured money into the roads and municipalities that welcome transplants and visitors — and hope locals will explore new places close to home — to the county's white sandy beaches, bay shore neighborhoods and inland offerings.
City and county leaders, school officials and restaurateurs learned to navigate a new normal as more and bigger became the keyword in every city, town and region.
From health care to voting precincts, Gulf Coast Media this end-of-year is looking at its year in review from the lens of this growth.
— Allison Marlow