In past years, gains in local population have been mostly attributable to more people being born than dying, and to immigrants movingto the state. Domestic migration — people moving within the U.S. — has mostly flowed out of the state. The nine-county region around Dayton lost nearly 5,000 people through out-migration from 2011 to 2012, for example. Warren County, meanwhile, was the only local county to gain population through domestic migration during those years.
But this past year was a different story. The region gained more than 1,700 people from other states or other parts of Ohio, and Butler, Clark, Champaign, Greene, Miami, Preble and Warren counties all saw domestic gains — some for the first time in a decade.
RELATED: Ohio continues anemic population growth
"There's a lot being done around economic development, making it more attractive for employers to come here and settle," said Cassie Barlow, chief operating officer at the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE). "I also think our colleges and universities are doing a really good job of reaching out to all different populations to invite them into the region to attend our universities."
In 2015, the Aerospace Professional Development Center opened at Wright State University to help aerospace and defense employees, potential employees, students and veterans get into careers with contractors in the region. The program is now run by SOCHE.
“Our state has great programming for veterans and a lot of veteran-friendly companies,” Barlow said.
The Dayton metro area, made up of Montgomery, Miami and Greene counties, grew by about 2,500 people from 2016 to 2017, according to the census estimates, or a growth of .3 percent.
Greene County grew by 1 percent during that time period, gaining more than 1,600 residents while Miami County grew by .7 percent with a gain of 740 people. Montgomery County saw a very slight gain in population of 147 people, according to the estimates, essentially flat. The increase is due mostly to births, however, because the county had a net-migration loss of 1,656 people.
RELATED: County OKs funds for projects creating 120+ new jobs
Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman said the area has done a much better job of telling its own story and selling its amenities.
“Our location certainly is an asset,” she said, then ticked off the communities other positives, including an abundance of clean water, a vibrant arts community, plenty of outdoor amenities, an accessible airport, several local universities, and an affordable cost of living..
Through Economic Development/Government Equity (ED/GE) grants, the county leveraged more than $81 million in new investment in 2017 impacting 1,497 jobs at 16 companies, Lieberman said.
The county also works with UpDayton, which is making several efforts to attract and keep young talent in the region. UpDayton’s catalyst programs help develop future community leaders by getting young people involved in non-profits and sitting on local boards, teaching employers how to recruit young talent, and working to help local college students get off campus and discover the region as a potential place to live.
opportunities to volunteer through UpDayton helped solidify Danielle Phillips’s decision to settle in the area.
The UD grad from Pioneer, Ohio, said she was looking to work in marketing in bigger cities after college, but had trouble finding entry level opportunities. She ended up getting hired by Lunne Marketing Group in downtown Dayton and soon moved downtown herself. Phillips, 28, now lives in the Oregon District.
“They gave me a shot right after college,” she said of her employer. When she started volunteering through UpDayton, she felt even more connected to the city.
“I saw the opportunity to make an impact in Dayton,” she said.
From 2016: Warren County is the 3rd fastest growing area in Ohio
Warren County saw the greatest domestic migration increase in the last year with about 1,300 people moving into the county from other parts of the state or country. That's up from fewer than 300 people moving into Warren County from 2010 to 2011. It was also once again the area's fastest growing county with an annual increase of about 2,400 people or 1.1 percent growth.
Warren County was the fourth fastest growing in the state in the past year.
MORE FROM THIS REPORTER:
‘A whole new life’: Local people share their addiction recovery stories
Ohio gets more firepower in fentanyl fight
Did you get more in your paycheck? Here’s why
Modern redlining: Racial disparities in lending persist in Dayton