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Census survey shows bright spots for Hall County
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Data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey indicates Hall County's economy is showing signs of recovery.

While the median household income dropped from $52,825 in 2008 to $49,015 in 2009, other economic indicators are showing signs of improvement.

The survey also points out the amount of vacant rental units decreased from 10.3 percent in 2008 to 4.2 percent last year. And more residents are also sticking around longer. The number of households that are remaining in the same home for at least a year increased from 83.7 percent in 2008 to 89.3 percent in 2009.

"We have been renting out more apartments than we have been losing (existing tenants)," said Jeanette Jones, property manager of Northcliff Colony Apartments in Gainesville.

"Our occupancy is up 14 percent over last year's."
The percentage of households made up of non-related individuals also decreased from 5.8 percent to 3.8 percent - a sign that could indicate more individuals are able to be self-sufficient.

"For a while, I lived with roommates, just until I could get on my feet," said Jemia Feldman, a Gainesville resident.

"I did that for about a year. But I was finally able to save enough money and to find a better job. So I moved out on my own earlier this year."

The survey is a yearly, sampling of the nation. It measures various social, economic and housing characteristics in American communities.

"ACS data are required by numerous federal programs and for planning and decision making at the state and federal level," said bureau director Robert Groves.

"(The data) help communities and businesses create jobs, plan for the future, establish new businesses and improve our economy."

The survey also supports what many local colleges and universities have noticed during the recession - increased student enrollment.

In 2009, 14.4 percent of Hall residents had earned a bachelor's degree, up from 13.3 percent in 2008.

"I got married right after high school, so I never got a chance to go to college," said Brenda Lee, a Flowery Branch resident.

"When I lost my job, I decided that it was time for me to take classes because I want a better life for my family," she said.

If she hadn't lost her job, she added, "I probably never would've gone to college."


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