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Census Bureau: Ohio's Population Growth Slowing Down

Downtown Columbus
Aerial Impact Solutions

The U.S. Census Bureau has released figures showing another year of slowing population growth at the national level. In recent years, Ohio's population has dipped as well.

According to the Census Bureau,Ohio is the country’s seventh-largest state by population at 11,689,100. It's one of just nine with at least 10 million residents. 

Still, it’s widely expected that Ohio’s current number of residents will lead to the state losing a seat in Congress after this year’s Census count. Ohio’s population has grown at steadily slower rates in the past two years, but its growth rates going into 2011 and 2012 were even lower.

Meanwhile, metro areas like Columbus are seeing enough influx to offset the trend. The most recent Census figures show Columbus making one of the largest numeric additions to its population of any city in the country—the city added 10,770 residents in just the last year.

Columbus was the only Midwest city to make the top 15 growing cities, with all the others coming from the South and West.

"I think one would find that the Columbus area, the metro area has benefited a lot or has experienced a fair amount of immigration over the last decade or so," Casterline says. "It's a strong employment market, so that has helped Columbus a lot as against the rest of Ohio."

As a whole, the U.S. population continues to grow, but it’s doing so more slowly. For the first time in recent memory, 2019 saw natural increase—which discounts immigration and counts only births-minus-deaths—fall below 1 million.

“Nationally, the birthrate in the U.S. now is the lowest it’s been, well, I think maybe ever,” says John Casterline, who runs Ohio State’s institute for population research. "One could only maybe find a year or two in the past that the birth rate has been so low. So people aren’t having children like they did even 10 years ago, or 20 years ago."

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.