LIMA — Ohio’s population went up between 2012 and 2013, but it went down in four out of five area counties.
Ohio had more than 11.5 million residents last year, according to the American Community Survey released by the U.S. Census. The state’s population was up 17,777 residents over 2012.
That was mostly driven with growth in Central Ohio, led by Delaware County’s 2.09 percent growth. Population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau show Franklin County — home to Columbus — recorded by far the most births in the state last year, 18,200. The birth rate of 15.21 per 1,000 residents in Franklin beat out Hamilton County — home to Cincinnati — which had a birth rate of 13.73.
Locally, Allen, Putnam, Hardin and Van Wert counties all saw declines. The only area county with an increase was Auglaize County, which gained 51 people, or 0.11 percent of its population.
The numbers aren’t astounding by any means for most counties. Allen County, for instance, lost just 31 people in that one year, down 0.03 percent to 105,298 people. Putnam County lost 113 people, or 0.33 percent, to 34,088.
Van Wert County showed the third-biggest decline in the state, losing 280 people, or down 0.97 percent, according to an analysis by the Columbus Dispatch. Hocking County in southeast Ohio had the biggest percentage population loss, at 2.34 percent.
The Dispatch reported that Ohio on the whole lost almost 7,400 people to migration last year. Nearly half of that loss occurred in Cuyahoga County, home to Cleveland.
Three-fourths of the state’s counties had a net loss of residents because of people moving out of Ohio.
Statistics show that Franklin County is closing in on Cuyahoga County and could become Ohio’s most populated by the 2020 census. Franklin County had 1,212,263 people as of July 2013. That’s an increase of 46,293, or 4 percent, over the last three years.
Cuyahoga County, meanwhile, fell to 1,263,154, leaving it about 50,000 residents ahead of Franklin. However, Cuyahoga County’s population losses have slowed from 8,200 in 2011, to 4,000 in 2012, to 2,900 last year.