Due to these trends, nearly two-thirds of Ohio counties lost population between July 2020 and July 2021, including Butler, Clark, Champaign and Montgomery counties, according to census data.
However, Warren County’s population increased by 3,549, which was the second largest increase in the state, behind Delaware County alone.
Greene and Miami counties also each added a few hundred new residents in 2021.
National and international migration has helped six of the seven local counties increase their population or compensate for losses. Butler County experienced a net loss in migration.
About 92% of counties in Ohio experienced a natural decline in population last year, compared to 61% of counties in 2020 and 49% in 2019, the data says.
In 2011 and 2012, less than a quarter of counties experienced natural population decline.
More Montgomery County residents have died in 2020 than any year in at least a quarter century, according to this newspaper’s reports, and COVID has killed more than 370 people in the county, contributing to an increase in 14% of the number of deaths.
Between July 1, 2020 and July 1, 2021, approximately 17,950 COVID deaths were reported statewide, including approximately 2,700 in the seven local counties.
Additionally, more people died of other causes, such as heart disease and diabetes, experts said, likely because many people were hesitant to seek treatment during the pandemic.
Also, fertility tends to decline in times of economic uncertainty and turmoil, and the past two years have been filled with apprehension, said Graham of the Scripps Gerontology Center.
Long-term fertility decline means the US population is aging, Graham said, and as people age, their risk of dying increases.
“So we are simultaneously seeing a decline in births and an increase in deaths,” he said. “Both trends have been amplified by COVID-19 and its effects, and I expect the trends to continue.”
These trends have important implications for Ohio communities, as a declining and aging population will likely necessitate changes in services, Graham said.
Labor challenges currently facing businesses and communities could worsen as there will be fewer people to enter the workforce and replace departing workers, he said. .
In 2010, only four counties in Ohio had populations in which at least a quarter of the residents were at least 60 years old, according to a 2018 State Plan on Aging by the Ohio Department of Aging.
By 2030, seniors will make up at least a quarter of residents in 81 of Ohio’s 88 counties, the report says.
The segment of the population aged 60 and older is growing more than 20 times faster than the state’s overall population, wrote department director Beverley Laubert.