2020 Census: Residents migrate away from rural counties

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Carroll and four of the five surrounding counties experienced a decrease in population over the last decade, according to 2020 Census figures.

The data showed Carroll County lost 2,115 residents over the last decade, after staying nearly stagnant for the previous 10-year cycle.  The 2020 figure of 26,721 is down 7.3 percent from the 2010 population of 28,836.  

Stark County had a minimal decline of .2 percent or 733 residents. The 2020 Census shows Stark County’s population is 374,853. Columbiana County lost 5,964 residents from 2010-2020, a 5.5 percent decline. The new census shows 101,877 residents in Columbiana County. The census showed Jefferson County’s population at 65,249, a loss of 4,460 residents or 6.4 percent. Harrison County had an 8.7 percent drop in their population from 15,864 in 2010 to 14,483 or 1,381 individuals. 

Tuscarawas County was the only county to show an increase. The population of the county increased .7 percent, or 681 individuals to 93,263 residents. 

The state of Ohio also showed a 2.3 percent increase in population with Franklin County growing the most. 

The state population increased 262,944 to 11,799,448.

Franklin County’s population increased 13.8 percent (160,393) from 1,163,414 to 1,323,807.

What does a decline in population mean for Carroll County? 

Carroll County Commissioner President Chris Modranski told The Messenger, a census decline affects many things including grant awards. One major factor for federal grant amounts is the community’s population. 

“When you have a decline in people, then available money sources also begin to disappear,” Modranski said. “Population decline is very scary for any county because when people move away businesses, services and educational opportunities will also begin to disappear. Not to mention, property values begin dropping.”

Modranski noted one of the top reasons for population decline related to families with children moving to larger towns or cities. They may move due to work location or family activities. Another reason for a population decline is young adults graduating from college and not returning home to work and raise a family. 

Population decline drains property values and fewer new homes are built. 

“Available workforce suffers which then leads to new challenges for our county businesses,” explained Modranski. “Because of the decline in taxes, there is a strain put on local government resources such as road maintenance/upgrades, police and fire services.”

Along with Carrollton, there are six other villages (or portions of villages) within Carroll County.  A portion of Magnolia is located in Carroll County and was the only village population increase in the county.  Minerva has residents in three counties and lost only 36 residents. Magnolia increased by 35 residents. Leesville went down 31 individuals to 127; Malvern lost 79 residents and has a population of 1,110; Sherrodsville has a population of 222, down 82; and Dellroy dropped 88 individuals to 268 residents.

“It all seems pretty much gloom and doom, but it doesn’t have to. Carroll County must rely on its great family and community traditions to create a community in which the young adults who left to gain an education desire to return, raise a family and build upon the success Carroll County has to offer,” Modranski added. “Having great new school facilities throughout the county is a great start to this and we must build upon that momentum by working together, as local stakeholders to develop the future of Carroll County.”

The 2020 Census was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, which presented challenges to the Census workers who attempted to collect data from residents who did not respond via mail. Many local officials are hoping to see an increase in numbers when the next census data is collected.

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