SYLVANIA, Ga. (WSAV) – More than a third of Georgia’s small towns saw a decrease in population last year according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and the issue is even reaching rural communities here at home.
From 2017 to 2018 Sylvania’s population dropped from 2,454 residents to 2,445 residents according to the U. S. Census Bureau. The census also shows the city has been on a steady decline since 2010.
The Executive Director of Screven County Development authority, Dorie Bacon, said that isn’t good. Bacon thinks the decline in population might have something to do with their young people being attracted to cities with a vibrant downtown, areas with more affordable housing, or better job opportunities.
Now, the county is trying to appeal to companies, to create more options and entice people to stay.
” In November Screven County became the fifth county in Georgia to pass e-commerce free-port. It’s the free port exemption which is the e-commerce fulfillment centers and that was something we wanted to be on the cutting edge of doing so that we could be attractive to those companies,” Bacon explained.
Bacon added another step they are taking to stop the decline includes encouraging young adults to stay in the area after graduating from high school.
” We are working with our eighth graders. We take them on the floor of our largest employers every year so that they can see a lot of the jobs available in Screven County in manufacturing…We want to make sure they understand the modern manufacturing environment,” Bacon said.
Bacon also said Sylvania city leaders have just started working on a comprehensive plan to address this issue even more.