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Census shows area losing population



Published: Fri, March 4, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)


On the side

Democrats tout diversity: Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras is on an 18-member committee that will work to have diversity among those serving as Ohio’s presidential delegates to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

The committee’s goal is to encourage participation in the delegate selection process from various minority groups.

Betras is the committee’s only member from the Mahoning Valley.

GOP regional chairs: The National Republican Congressional Committee has selected 12 regional chairs, including U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette of Bainbridge, R-14th, for the 2012 election cycle. The 12 will play “a vital role in helping the NRCC reach its goals, serving as liaisons to members and candidates in their region to communicate and implement a variety of initiatives,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions.

LaTourette is one of only two to have a region of one state — Ohio, of course. The other is Texas.

LaTourette’s congressional district includes northern Trumbull County.

When the U.S. Census releases its 2010 population numbers for Ohio next week, it’s not going to be pretty for Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Mahoning County’s population was 264,806 in 1990 and 257,555 in 2000. It’s likely to be less than 235,000 in the 2010 census based on annual population estimates.

Trumbull County’s population was 227,813 in 1990 and 225,116 in 2000. The county will be lucky to have 210,000 in the 2010 census.

Significant declines

There’s no doubt that the counties’ core cities — Youngstown for Mahoning and Warren for Trumbull — are where we see the most significant population declines.

Youngstown’s population was 95,732 in 1990 and 82,026 in 2000. Expect the city’s population for 2010 to be just over 70,000. It looks like the Youngstown 2010 plan with its shrinking-city concept is working in at least one way. The actual size of the city isn’t shrinking, but its population sure is.

Warren had 50,793 residents in 1990. It dropped to 46,832 in 2000, and is probably hovering around 43,000 in the 2010 census.

While the core cities are driving the significant population losses in the two counties, people aren’t leaving Youngstown and Warren for the suburbs. They’re leaving the Mahoning Valley and most of Northeast Ohio.

In the 2000 census, Mahoning was the 10th most populated county and Trumbull was 12th. When the new numbers come out, Lake County will move ahead of Mahoning, which will drop to 11th.

Trumbull, which was the 12th most populated county in 2000, will drop to 13th, behind Warren County.

Warren County’s population will come close to doubling its size in a 20-year period. It had 113,905 people in 1990. It will probably have more than 210,000 people in the 2010 census.

Trumbull could drop to 14th among the state’s 88 counties shortly as Clermont County’s population is likely to be close to 200,000 in 2010 compared to 150,187 in 1990.

Columbiana County’s population in 1990 was 108,276 and grew to 112,075 in 2000. Census numbers for 2010 will likely show the county’s population dropping a little below its 1990 level.

Limited employment

Despite some good economic news — most notably the V&M Star expansion project in Youngstown and the General Motors complex in Lordstown — the reality is there are limited employment opportunities in the area, leaving many people with no other choice but to search for jobs elsewhere, never to return.

Unemployment in the Valley continues to be above the state average which continues to be above the national average.

And what does the population decline in the Mahoning Valley mean politically?

Fallout

Fewer people living here means less attention will be paid to the area by the state and federal governments. There have been some notable exceptions, but the Valley has largely been ignored for decades.

It also means significant changes to the make-up of the area’s congressional representation. Expect the 17th Congressional District to grow a lot, and probably include all of Mahoning County, and it could even go into Columbiana County.

The 6th District will certainly change its shape, and may not include any of the Valley.


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