Kennesaw State has contributed to Kennesaw’s population and economic growth over the past five years, leading to future projects and plans for the city.
Kennesaw’s population has continued to grow at 2.4 percent annually according to the city’s director of communications, Jolene Butts Freeman.
“Over the past five years we have seen steady and accelerating growth,” Freeman said. “Housing units, retail, office and industrial sectors have continued to expand as well.”
KSU’s 3,960 employees make the university one of the largest employers in Cobb County and a significant contributor to the city’s economic growth.
“Over the past year, the city has added over 300,000 square feet of retail businesses with much of that demand being driven by KSU’s faculty, staff and student populations,” Freeman said.
Local restaurant and retail businesses gain a large amount of disposable income from the 35,000 KSU students and are also able to gain efficient employees out of them.
“KSU’s business, technology and healthcare programs have created a critical mass of skilled labor and continue to support the growth of existing businesses as well as the formation of new ones,” Freeman said. “This is also true in the areas of entertainment, media, consulting and financial services.”
The city has seen growth based on capital investments of approximately $300 million over the last five years with an additional $500 million in new capital investments planned for over the next four to five years.
Freeman also said that more than 2,000 new jobs have been created, lowering Kennesaw’s unemployment rate to 4.3 percent.
With 15 percent of all KSU undergraduate students living on campus, according to a 2016 College Board annual survey, the demand on the rental housing market both in the purpose-built housing and open market multi-family units continues to increase.
“The city’s demographics have seen increases in homeowners, household incomes and levels of education,” Freeman said. “Homeownership, growth in diversity and the increase in a younger population are also trends that are driving the growth in new business, job creation, the formation of new households and capital investments.”
According to Freeman, Kennesaw has even seen an increase in the number of seniors moving to the area because they desire to reside close to the university.
“The senior population is increasing and the demand for purpose-built senior housing for sale and for rent continues to grow,” Freeman said. “Seniors have a strong desire to be located near KSU to take advantage of the education, sports and cultural activities offered at the university.”
Numerous special events and sports games held at KSU also bring in profits by attracting visitors who spend money on local hotels, restaurants and retail businesses.
Kennesaw Mayor Derek Easterling expressed his excitement about Kennesaw’s population and economic growth in his state of the city address in January at the KSU Center.