LIMA — The latest population statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau continue to show a decreasing or stagnant population in the region. Over a seven-year period, Allen County’s population was reduced by roughly 3,000 people, or 2.9 percent.
In the last year alone, Allen County’s population decreased by 500 people.
Other counties have seen similar reductions, although Allen County tops the list of regional counties with the most loss of population. Since 2010, Putnam County population numbers decreased by 600, or 1.8 percent, and Auglaize County decreased by less than 200, or less than .1 percent.
The populations of Hardin and Van Wert counties have seen similar decreases of close to 2 percent. Like Auglaize County, Mercer County’s population has stayed mostly stagnant over a seven-year period.
Despite the overall shrinkage, Van Wert and Mercer counties have seen slight upticks in population in the last year alone. Mercer gained 63 people, and Van Wert gained 51 people, according to Census estimates.
Ohio’s population, however, has continued to grow as major metropolitan areas — mostly Columbus and its surrounding municipalities — have attracted diverse markets. Counties in the Cleveland area, however, have seen population losses.
Counties with similar population sizes to Allen County run the gambit between population growth and shrinkage. Those counties closer to major metropolitan areas, such as Miami County just north of Dayton, tend to gain, while counties with “legacy cities,” such as Lima, Marion and Mansfield, have seen reductions in population.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also released the unemployment rate for the month of February on Friday. Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent for February, the best since 2001. The United States unemployment rate is 4.1 percent, and Allen County’s unemployment rate, as of January, is 4.8 percent.
The state has added 46,500 jobs over the past year.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.