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Growth Has Columbus Region on Track to Hit 3 Million Mark by 2050

Brent Warren Brent Warren Growth Has Columbus Region on Track to Hit 3 Million Mark by 2050
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Stronger-than-expected population growth in the last five years has led the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) to revise its estimate for future growth in the Columbus region.

The organization’s Insight2050 report — released in 2014 — predicted that an additional 500,000 people would call the seven-county Central Ohio area home by 2050. The latest numbers, shared at MORPC’s State of the Region event today, suggest that the region could grow by as many as a million people in that time frame, bringing it past the three million mark.

That projection is very much in line with the findings of Jon Seymour, proprietor of local data analytics site AllColumbusData.com, who published a report in March examining Census data for Columbus from 2010 to 2015.

In addition to the overall population gains, MORPC Executive Director William Murdock also outlined the latest numbers on housing, jobs, and sprawl. The region is on track to add 300,000 housing units by 2050, and with over 120,000 jobs added since 2010, growth should exceed the original Insight2050 prediction in that category as well. About two thirds of the housing units developed from 2010 to 2015 were multi-family units.

In terms of physical expansion, the region is expected to add about 112 square miles to its developed footprint by 2050, which is significantly less that the 270 square miles predicted in the 2014 report. This is good news for those hoping that Columbus can contain its outward sprawl by growing denser in places that are already served by existing streets, sewers and water lines.

As for what impact such population growth will have on transportation in the region, Transit Columbus Board Chair Elissa Schneider says that the new numbers clearly demonstrate the need for more options.

“If we want to grow sustainably, in a way that honors the demand for walkable, dense, neighborhoods, we need high-capacity transportation options,” she said. “Mass transit — and it could be anything from BRT, to light rail, to streetcar — is a radically efficient use of space that honors the housing and development that people want.”

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