Franklin County's pandemic population dip now on the rebound
Franklin County rebounded from its slight population dip in 2021 and grew by thousands of residents last year, per the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
- Surrounding counties, meanwhile, are among the fastest growing in the state.
Why it matters: The data indicates our brief decline was a pandemic blip and re-emphasizes the need for additional housing to accommodate our long-term pattern of growth, Michael Wilkos, a senior vice president of the United Way of Ohio, tells Axios.
State of play: All major Ohio metro areas (including ours) saw more residents move away between July 2020 and July 2022 than moved in, a trend caused by rising housing costs and more flexible remote work.
- While most urban counties statewide declined in total population during that two-year timespan, Franklin County offset most of those movers by recording far more births than deaths.
What they're saying: This is what Wilkos, who closely studies demographic shifts, predicted to us last year.
- He now points to most counties losing residents as evidence of Ohio's "aging population and lack of in-migration from other states."
Zoom out: Ohio lost 0.35% of its population in the two-year time frame, all while an expensive national marketing campaign trumpeted the state as a cheaper alternative to coastal metro areas.
- That loss amounts to around 41,500 residents, partly owing to tens of thousands more deaths recorded than births.
The intrigue: Suburban Columbus remains a notable exception — its population continually grew over the two-year period.
- The Nos. 1 and 2 counties in population growth were Union and Delaware, with Licking County and its under-construction Intel plant coming in at No. 7.
- These counties are growing hotbeds for new warehouses, data centers and other major development projects attracting thousands of workers.
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