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Published: Saturday, April 27, 2019 @ 6:00 AM
— Butler County continues to outpace state and regional growth, adding 1,535 residents to reach a total of more than 380,000 during a 12-month period ending July 1, according to recently released U.S. Census Bureau data.
The country grew faster than Ohio’s 0.21 percent population increase during that time, when the state added 25,313 people to reach 11,689,442 residents.
Population growth is looked to as a sign of a region’s economic health because people follow jobs, employers need workers and it speaks to the health and attractiveness of communities, area officials say.
Butler County Commissioner T.C. Rogers said the county’s continual growth, including its recent 0.4 percent bump, is a result of a continuing robust economy, one that includes good jobs, ample leisure events and low tax rates that haven’t risen in years.
“This is the place to be, which has a lower cost of living and where you can raise your family and have a good job and a good time,” Rogers said.
Job opportunities also abounded in Butler County, as new development and businesses continued to spring up in Middletown, Hamilton, Monroe, West Chester Twp., Fairfield and Liberty Twp., officials stressed.
Butler County has major employers, like Cincinnati Financial in Fairfield, AK Steel in Middletown and GE Aviation in West Chester Twp. The county also is home to retail destinations like IKEA (West Chester Twp.), Jungle Jim’s (Fairfield), Liberty Center (Liberty Twp.), as well as entertainment destination Topgolf in West Chester Twp.
Population growth has a positive impact on the local economy including home sales, retail sales and income taxes, Rogers said.
Butler County’s growth isn’t limited to year over year population increases. The county has added 13,277 residents since 2010, an increase of 3.6 percent.
Between July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2018, Butler County saw boosts to international migration (721 people) and natural increase (942), which is the difference between the numbers of births and deaths in a population, according to Sandy Johnson, demographer for the U.S. Census Bureau.
But it also saw a drop in domestic migration (minus-113 people), Johnson said.
Warren County grew through all three factors: natural increase (478 people), domestic migration (2,470) and international migration (376). That population growth of 3,314 residents between July 2017 and July 2018, putting the county at 232,173 residents, a growth rate of nearly 1.5 percent in a year
That was the third largest increase in the state behind Delaware and Union counties, Census estimates show.
Warren County has grown by nearly 8.8 percent since 2010.
Warren County Commissioner Tom Grossmann said the growth is easy to explain: The county has good jobs, good schools, good housing, nice parks and a good quality of life.
“Growing population demonstrates the vibrancy, the attractiveness of this county,” he said.
The areas along interstates 71 and 75 have seen new development and businesses, and the strongest growth has occurred in southern parts of the county, including Mason, Deerfield Twp. and Hamilton Twp., Grossmann said.
Grossmann said Warren County has big employers, like Procter and Gamble, with 1,950 employees. The county is also home to entertainment destinations like Kings Island and Great Wolf Lodge.
About half of Ohio’s 88 counties saw population growth in 2018. Counties that lost population included Darke County (-254 residents), Preble (-117), Champaign (-70) and Clark (-64).
The growth trends in Butler and Warren counties mimic what’s happening in larger Cincinnati metro area, Johnson said. That area has experienced 0.5 percent year-over-year growth rate and grown 3.6 percent since 2010.
“The areas are growing (year over year) but they’re doing so at a much slower rate than what we are seeing in states and counties in other parts of the nation,” she said.
The nation’s south and west is experiencing the most rapid growth, census estimates show.
By metropolitan area, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas, had the largest numeric growth with a gain of 131,767 (1.8 percent) in 2018, followed by Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona, with an increase of 96,268 (2.0 percent).
It’s difficult to tell how accurate the year-to-year estimates are until they can be compared to the official census numbers, she said.
“We try to do the best that we can with the data that we have available,” Johnson said.