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Central Ohio Region Continues to Grow at Accelerated Pace as New Economic Development Projects Come Online

A photo from the 11 Floor Of nationwide Children's in Columbus Ohio looking North. Photo from Sciotopost

[Columbus, OH – February 2, 2023] – The Central Ohio region continues to grow and is on track to exceed 3 million residents by 2050, based on the most recent data from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC).

The most recent modeling projections of 3.15 million for the 15-county region represents a slight uptick from previous projections. Over the next 25 years, the Central Ohio region will see a growth of 726,000people, which equates to 272,000 additional households and 357,000 additional workers.  

“As we look to the future of Central Ohio, we have a great opportunity to shape the type of region and communities we want for ourselves, our parents, and our children,” said William Murdock, executive director at MORPC. “This means we should focus on sustainability and protecting our green spaces, while embracing new types of developments and transit to preserve our high standard of living. And most importantly, we need to remain steadfast in ensuring that everyone in this region has a voice and access to current and future amenities.”

Births and people moving to Central Ohio (in-migration) were almost equally contributing to the region’s growth in the past; however, Central Ohio, like the nation, is showing a continued trend of increased death rates and lower birth rates, due in large part to our aging population.

Franklin County is expected to absorb half of the regional growth and will welcome more than twice as many newcomers as the next highest county (Delaware). That said, the six surrounding counties will experience greater growth relative to their current populations ranging from a 30 percent increase in Madison and Licking counties, to 80 percent in Delaware, compared to 26 percent for Franklin County.   

Recent growth places Central Ohio among the fastest-growing large metros in the country. Additionally, the region is growing faster than any other in the state. But at an estimated 0.89 percent annually, the growth is a more manageable rate than other metros, such as Austin or Boise, which have been growing at twice the rate of Central Ohio.

“Currently, more than 80 percent of Central Ohioans enjoy a commute time of less than 35 minutes to work,” said Kerstin Carr, chief regional strategy officer and director of planning at MORPC. “If communities wish to preserve this convenience as the region continues to grow, they must strive to develop housing near jobs and jobs near housing, locating new developments within close proximity to transit routes whenever practical. Thoughtful land use planning is also critical to improving air quality, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and protecting our rivers and lakes from chemical runoff and stormwater impacts.”

According to a report commissioned by the Building Industry Association (BIA) of Central Ohio, housing permitting will need to increase approximately two-fold from recent trends to meet the projected need of more than 100,000 new housing units in the next decade and to ensure a variety of attainable housing options to accommodate new residents and meet the demand for more walkable neighborhoods.

For more information about Central Ohio’s population growth projects visit the 2023 Population Forecast online