Columbus Region to Grow to 3 Million Residents by 2050

Walker Evans Walker Evans Columbus Region to Grow to 3 Million Residents by 2050Photo by Walker Evans.
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When the Insight2050 study was first unveiled way back in 2014 by the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), local planners projected that the Columbus region was on track to add another 500,000 people to its population by the year 2050. An update today confirms that the original projections were a little too conservative — we’re actually poised to add another 1,000,000 residents by the same destination year of 2050.

Just to put that number in perspective, the Columbus region hit the 2 million mark in 2016 — and the latest estimated data indicates that we’re already at 2.4 million — so we’re talking about a nearly 50 percent population increase over the course of the next three decades.

“Estimating current populations and projecting future growth are important to local governments as ways to inform long-range planning efforts for villages, townships, cities and counties,” said William Murdock, MORPC Executive Director. “Keeping track of growth in the region has important implications for how communities plan for the future.”

Of course, the level of change will be felt gradually over time, as the growth rate equates to the addition of approximately 31,250 new residents per year — around a 1.5 percent year-over-year increase — spread out over the 15-county region of Central Ohio. That rate of growth is nothing new either, with Central Ohio having added residents at around the same consistent rate for the last several decades.

“In 2018, MORPC estimates that the region saw an increase of 43,000 residents – enough to fill both Nationwide Arena and the Schottenstein Center to capacity simultaneously and the largest single-year of growth in Central Ohio’s history. This equates on average to 118 people coming into the region each day.”

While the continued growth is slated to occur across a large region that includes Marion, Chillicothe, Newark and everything in between, Franklin County still accounts for over seventy percent of the region’s recent growth, and Columbus proper accounts for fifty percent of recent growth. That reflects a shift away from decades of suburban sprawl, as MORPC points out that Franklin County only accounted for 40 percent of the region’s growth between 2000 and 2010.

“What’s important is that Central Ohio is a rapidly growing region, and that growth is not showing signs of slowing down,” added Murdock. “Collectively as a region, we have the opportunity to plan for this growth in a sustainable way that delivers a range of transportation options, offers affordable housing options, ensures all residents have opportunities for economic success, and makes efficient use of our resources.”

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