Franklin County’s population fell slightly from 2020 to 2021, according to census estimates released Thursday, with the loss attributed to people moving to other places in Greater Columbus, Ohio and the country.
The pattern of net population loss was similar in other urban counties in Ohio, according to census estimates. Cuyahoga (Cleveland), Hamilton (Cincinnati), Lucas (Toledo), Montgomery (Dayton), Summit (Akron), Stark (Canton), and Mahoning (Youngstown) all saw slight population declines over the year.
Meanwhile, the six counties surrounding Franklin County – Delaware, Fairfield, Licking, Madison, Pickaway and Union – all saw slight population gains during this period from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021, according to estimates. .
Franklin County’s population is estimated to have dropped by 2,689 people, from approximately 1,324,103 on July 1, 2020 to 1,321,414 on July 1, 2021.
Franklin County’s official 2020 census count as of April 1, 2020 was 1,323,807.
“This is the first time I’ve seen Franklin County lose population,” said Michael Wilkos, senior vice president of community impact for United Way of Central Ohio, who regularly studies population and demographic trends.
The COVID pandemic has impacted population estimates
But Wilkos believes the county’s slight population decline is an anomaly, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Thursday, there were 37,793 COVID-related deaths in Ohio, including 2,541 in Franklin County.
Meanwhile, counties outside of Franklin have been gaining, in part because people have chosen to move to low-density communities during the pandemic, Wilkos said. “Columbus has been caught up in this national wave,” he said.
The US Census Bureau said nearly three-quarters of US counties recorded more deaths than births during this period, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, just over 45% of all counties had more deaths than births.
“We are seeing some of the full effects of what the pandemic has done,” Wilkos said.
“Everything is in flux. This is clearly a year of slow growth for the whole of the United States,” he said.
In a news release, the census bureau said declining births, an aging population and increased mortality due to the pandemic have contributed to an increase in natural decline in 2021.
This was not the case in Franklin County, where births (17,346) outnumbered deaths (12,442).
But Franklin County lost 9,799 in net in-migration.
In every urban Ohio county except Franklin and Hamilton, deaths exceeded births during this time. Hamilton County recorded 627 more births than deaths (10,318 to 9,691).
Ohio is estimated to have lost just over 10,000 statewide residents during this one-year period, bringing the state’s estimated population to 11,780,017 by mid-2021. Statewide deaths exceeded births by 144,406 to 128,595.
Wilkos pointed out that 18 states lost population last year.
“This is unprecedented for the United States and provides incredible insight into the impact of COVID on our country,” he said.
But Wilkos said he saw some positive trends in Ohio. For example, even though Stark County lost population because deaths outnumbered births, it gained a network of 703 people through migration.
Clark County, home to Springfield, did the same, with a net migration gain of 376. And Montgomery County (Dayton) had a net migration gain of 223. All small numbers, but significant for counties where populations have stagnated.
As for the other counties, Muskingum (home to Zanesville) gained 66 to 86,408 in 20201, Guernsey (Cambridge), lost 103 to 38,287, Marion County lost 72 to 65,291, the Ross County (Chillicothe) fell 94 to 76,891, Ashland County fell 104 to 52,316, and Wayne County (Wooster) fell 130 to 116,710.
International Arrivals, College Distance Learning Factors in Changing Populations
Columbus continues to be a magnet for international immigration despite issues caused by COVID, Mikos said. Franklin County added 2,166 international residents over the past year, while Cuyahoga, Hamilton, Montgomery, Summit, Lucas, Stark and Mahoning added 2,804 combined.
Edward “Ned” Hill, an economics professor at Ohio State University, said he’s not surprised Franklin County has shrunk its population a bit because some students who were counted as residents before COVID don’t did not return to live in or around the universities. , but instead used remote learning during this census estimation period.
“They were in front of a screen, not in front of a classroom,” Hill said.
Hill said the growth in counties surrounding Franklin could also be attributed to young adults returning to live with families, as well as high-income people building homes in those counties.
People are leaving the coasts for more space
Nationally, Los Angeles County, California had the largest net loss of inward migration in the country (179,757), followed by New York County (Manhattan), New York (113,642), a Wilkos said.
Meanwhile, coastal metropolitan areas such as New York and San Francisco saw substantial losses of 327,000 and 116,400, respectively.
“As a lot of people expected, a lot of people left the big, dense metros on the coasts and looked for places with a little more space,” Wilkos said. It’s benefited metros like Indianapolis, Charlotte, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Columbus, he said.
Five of the top 10 winning counties in 2021 were in Texas: Collin (suburb of Dallas), Fort Bend (suburb of Houston), Williamson (suburb of Austin), Denton (outside of Dallas and Fort Worth), and Montgomery ( north of Houston).
Hill said demographers see more people moving from California in the future to lower-cost states, like Texas.