Posted: 9:36 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dayton area population flat over three-year period

By Ken McCall

Staff Writer

New population estimates from the Census Bureau show that the Dayton metropolitan area is barely holding its own this decade.

As of July 1, 2013, the four-county Dayton Metropolitan Statistical Area had gained an estimated 590 people since July 1, 2010, the data show. The flat population figures reflect less than 0.1 percent growth.

The Dayton MSA, defined as Montgomery, Greene, Miami and Preble counties, is home to an estimated 802,489 people.

While the region’s population increased slightly, Montgomery County lost an estimated 2,000 people during the three-year period, according to the data released Wednesday.

The estimated population loss slowed somewhat during the past year. During the 12 months ending last July 1, the county lost an estimated 424 people.

Montgomery County has lost more than 70,000 residents since its peak population of 606,148 in 1970.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the numbers should surprise no one. If the region isn’t growing but development keeps going on in the neighboring counties, the center county will lose population.

“The real issue is we’re not growing as a region,” Whaley said. “Until we see actual growth in the region, a lot of this sprawl that’s happening, you’re going to see a loss in the county. It’s a regional issue.”

The city of Dayton is working with the Dayton Development Coalition on a regional economic development strategy, she said.

“We have to recognize that we’re all connected when it comes to job growth,” Whaley said. “The key piece is we have to grow the region.”

The Springfield metropolitan area (just Clark County) lost 2.0 percent of its population during the same three years. That was sixth-largest drop among the 381 MSAs nationwide.

Using vital statistics, migration and other data, the Census Bureau estimated that Clark County lost 2,776 people during the three years. The estimated loss slowed somewhat during the past year. From July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2013, the Springfield MSA lost only an estimated 268 residents.

Clark County Commissioner John Detrick said the continued decline is bad news for the county.

“I’m very concerned about the overall decline and we have to work at getting innovative to try to stabilize and grow our population,” he said. “It’s not a healthy factor to attract new restaurants, shopping, and it would help shore up our tax base.”

Of the 14 metropolitan statistical areas in Ohio, Dayton’s was one of only three that showed any growth at all this decade.

The much larger Cincinnati metro area — which reaches into Kentucky and Indiana and is comprised of 15 counties including Warren and Butler — gained an estimated 20,000 residents, or 0.9 percent.

And the booming 10-county Columbus metro area, gained an estimated 60,823 people, or 3.2 percent.

The largest total population loss among any of the metropolitan areas in the U.S. occurred, once again, in the Cleveland-Elyria MSA, which lost close to 11,000 people (a 0.5 percent drop) during the first three years of the decade. The five-county Cleveland metro area has been one of top population losers in the country for years.

The Youngstown metro area, a three-county region that reaches into Pennsylvania, lost about 9,700 residents (-1.7 percent) during the same period.

Tiffany Latta contributed to this report.


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