Ohio’s going to become a more Columbus-centric state, assuming the latest population projections pan out.
Despite the Buckeye State’s sluggish growth since 2010, projections for Central Ohio are growing bolder. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission estimates the 15-county region will reach 3 million people by 2050.
In 2018, the Columbus region grew by 43,000 people, or 118 people a day, to reach 2.4 million, MORPC estimates. About 30,000 of those residents, or 82 new people a day, came to Franklin County, and the city of Columbus itself surpassed 900,000 for the first time, gaining 22,000 residents.
MORPC attributed this growth to migration from other places in Ohio, the U.S. and abroad. “Since 2010, for every resident gained from natural population growth, another moved into the region,” it reported.
Urbanization factored in, too – Franklin County accounted for 40 percent of population growth in 2000-2010, but 70 percent this year.
“Keeping track of growth in the region has important implications for how communities plan for the future,” MORPC Executive Director William Murdock said in a statement. “What’s important is that Central Ohio is a rapidly growing region, and that growth is not showing signs of slowing down.”
Columbus 2020’s president, Kenny McDonald, noted this month that the greater region has seen $8 billion in capital investment and added 150,000 jobs in eight years – two years sooner than its targets. And the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland reported that the economic indicators for the Columbus region are surging.
“Since December 2007 … employment has grown 11.2 percent in the metro area, compared to only 2 percent net job growth nationally,” according to the Fed report. “In absolute terms, nearly 120,000 more people work in the Columbus metro area today than worked there in December 2007.”
But the region isn’t necessarily keeping up with the population growth on all fronts. The Building Industry Association of Central Ohio released a study this month calling for 458,000 housing units by 2050, far above the rate of home-building in the region now.
In the meantime, Ohio’s growth is staying relatively anemic.
While still No. 7 in terms of total population, Ohio saw an increase of just 0.2 percent since 2017, up to 11.69 million people in 2018, according to the latest data from the Census Bureau. Since 2010, Ohio grew 1.32 percent, or about 153,000, while the total U.S. population is up 5.96 percent, or 18.4 million people, to 327.2 million.
That data painted Ohio’s population growth squarely in Central Ohio.
Growth is growth, but because Ohio’s not growing as quickly as other states, we’re projected to lose one of our 16 U.S. House seats after the 2020 Census. Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, among others, face a similar one-seat loss.
In turn, Texas should gain three seats; Florida, two; and Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina and Oregon, one each.
Ohio’s U.S. House delegation peaked with 24 of the 435 seats in the 1930s-40s and again in the 1960s.