Northeast Ohio’s population has been spreading out.

Population has grown in some areas that had been less populated and has decreased in many urban areas that had been more populated.

Population Change per County, 2000-2010

Population Change by County, 2000-2010, US Census Bureau Data

While the population in some counties grew from 2000 to 2010, growth was not evenly distributed throughout the region. In particular, Cuyahoga County lost significant population to outer suburban counties such as Medina and Summit.

This outward migration from the urban core to the suburban and exurban areas indicates that the region’s population has been shifting more than growing.

People per Developed Acre in Northeast Ohio, 1979 v. 2006

People per Developed Acre, 1979 v. 2006

Another indicator that Northeast Ohio is spreading out is the average number of people who live on each developed acre of land.

From 1979-2006, the average number of people per acre of developed land in Northeast Ohio declined by 22.96%.

Changes in Northeast Ohio’s Population Density, 1970-2010

Northeast Ohio Population Density 1970

Northeast Ohio Population Density 2010

The pattern of where people live in Northeast Ohio was far different in 1970 than it was in 2010.

In the 1970 Population Density map, the dominant colors are Tan, which represents areas with fewer than 500 people per square mile, and Blue, which represents areas with more than 2,500 people per square mile.

The central cities in the region are clearly defined by areas of very low density separating them from one another. Places like Wooster and Ashtabula are low density areas.

By 2010, however, the picture has changed dramatically.

There are no Tan spaces separating Elyria, Lorain, Cleveland, Akron, and Canton in the 2010 Population Density map; all these cities are now connected by land that contains 500 or more people per square mile and the Blue areas with more than 2,500 people per square mile have been chipped away.

Cities like Ashtabula, Wooster and Conneaut have all dramatically increased their densities. Forty years earlier all of Wooster was in the lowest density category. By 2010, a large section of Wooster was now in the highest density category.

From 1970 to 2010, people moved away from many dense areas into more open areas.

1 response to Northeast Ohio’s population has been spreading out.

  1. I attended the Portage & Summit Counties workshop. One of the things that struck me is that the tools for development discussion did not specifically include reducing densities in areas of the shrinking cities to provide additional open space for urban farms, streams, vegetation, as is being done (somewhat out of necessity and by default) in Detroit, Youngstown, Cleveland. Compact urban development has its benefits, but we don’t necessarily have to duplicate what grew up in the early 1900s – perhaps we can improve on it.

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