This county is a part of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area.
In 1857, part of the southeastern corner of the county was ceded by the state legislature to form Milton County. In the 1890s, The Atlanta & Knoxville Railroad (later renamed the Marietta & North Georgia Railroad when it could not be completed to Knoxville) built a branch line up through the middle of the county. When this line was bought by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad the following decade, the L&N built train depots at Woodstock and other towns.
Cherokee County is now becoming part of suburban Atlanta, and is considered part of the Atlanta metro area. It is bisected by Interstate 575, which runs from Marietta north through Woodstock, Lebanon, Holly Springs, Canton, and Ball Ground, ending at the Pickens County line into Georgia Highway 515, the Appalachian Parkway developmental highway. The Georgia Northeastern Railroad also operates freight service on the former L&N tracks, roughly parallel to this route. Population growth follows the same general pattern as well, with new suburbs in the south following the highway toward exurbs further north.
Like other similar counties, such rapid construction and consumption of land has strained the local ecology, as well as relations between developers and residents, even between the governments of the county and its cities. Impact fees, zoning decisions, and environmental damage have all be sources of contention, with some developers trying to circumvent the county laws by asking the cities for annexation.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,124 km² (434 mi²). 1,097 km² (424 mi²) of it is land and 27 km² (10 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.38% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 141,903 people, 49,495 households, and 39,200 families residing in the county. The population density is 129/km² (335/mi²). There are 51,937 housing units at an average density of 47/km² (123/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 92.41% White, 2.48% Black or African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.61% from other races, and 1.29% from two or more races. 5.42% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 49,495 households out of which 41.40% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.20% are married couples living together, 8.30% have a female householder with no husband present, and 20.80% are non-families. 16.00% of all households are made up of individuals and 4.10% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.85 and the average family size is 3.18.
In the county the population is spread out with 28.30% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 35.80% from 25 to 44, 21.70% from 45 to 64, and 6.60% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 100.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 98.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $60,896, and the median income for a family is $66,419. Males have a median income of $44,374 versus $31,036 for females. The per capita income for the county is $24,871. 5.30% of the population and 3.50% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 5.50% are under the age of 18 and 9.80% are 65 or older.