You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Clark population decline continues

In Ohio, 66 of 88 counties lose people, new census figures show.

Clark County’s population continues to fall, reaching its lowest level since 1962.

But it is not alone.

A record number of U.S. counties — more than 1 in 3 — are now dying off, hit hard by an aging population and sluggish economies that are spurring young adults to seek jobs and build families elsewhere.

The 2012 census estimates released Thursday highlight the population shifts as the U.S. encounters its most sluggish growth levels since the Great Depression.

The census estimates show Clark County’s population dropped to 137,206, putting the area’s population totals at its lowest in 50 years when the county had 135,656 residents.

Commissioner John Detrick said the numbers are concerning.

“That’s an area we’ve been working on. We’ve been working on job growth, and now we need to work on retaining our mature citizens and we need to replace those we’re losing through death,” Detrick said.

Clark County’s population dropped 562 people, or 0.4 percent, from 2011 and 2012 and was among 66 of Ohio’s 88 counties that saw population losses.

Since 2000, Clark County’s population has dropped about 7 percent, losing more than 10,500 people, according to census data.

Between 2011 and 2012, Champaign County lost about 250 people, census estimates said, leaving it with 39,565. Montgomery County lost about 600 people during that same period, the report said.

Detrick, Commissioner Rick Lohnes and Clark County Community Improvement Corporation Vice President Horton Hobbs said the decades of decline in Clark County are largely due to manufacturing job losses.

All three said strides have been made as the area.

Clark County attracted 700 new jobs in 2012 and maintained unemployment rates below Ohio and national averages in recent months, according to a report by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Unemployment rates in both Clark and Champaign counties decreased more than 2 percentage points for the year, the report said.

But Detrick and others say the job losses in the manufacturing industry, particularly Navistar International, led to dramatic population declines, and the area has never fully recovered.

Employment levels at the local manufacturing facility dropped from 6,500 in the 1980s to currently just more than 850 workers.

Lohnes said county officials are teaming with the Dayton Development Coalition on a study to establish a strategic economic development plan.

He said efforts for the area to become one of six national test ranges for unmanned aircraft systems would also be a boon for the community.

“It’s about jobs,” Lohnes said.

Hobbs said reversing the population slide is a complex problem that requires a multi-pronged plan.

He cited efforts such as Greater Springfield Moving Forward, a group tasked with expanding and strengthening economic development by focusing on five core areas, including workforce development, student achievement, livability and quality of life initiatives.

National Trail Parks and Recreation plans to open an ice rink as part of the last phase of the park district’s 10-year, $17 million capital campaign that also included the Carleton Davidson Stadium and the Splash Zone Family Aquatic Center.

Hobbs said Clark County has seen business growth.

He said leaders have a strategy they hope will bring more positive results in three to five years. But he admits it could take much longer before population trends reverse.

“There’s no one silver bullet,” Hobbs said, “but the collective goal is to effect population growth. We need to stabilize and grow.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Wet morning commute, mild weather ahead this week
Wet morning commute, mild weather ahead this week

Rain will fall for first half of the day. Scattered showers at times through first half of day. Temperatures 10 to 20 degrees above normal all week. Rounds of rain towards end of week. TODAY: Breezy through the day. Highs in the upper 50s midday dropping to the upper 40s by the end of the afternoon. Scattered clouds linger into the night with...
Monica Crowley passes on Trump White House post amid plagiarism allegations
Monica Crowley passes on Trump White House post amid plagiarism allegations

Monica Crowley will not be joining the Trump administration as previously believed, The Washington Times reported Monday. “After much reflection, I have decided to remain in New York to pursue other opportunities and will not be taking a position in the incoming administration,” Crowley said in a statement to the Times...
Steve Harvey reveals more details about Trump meeting, possibly working with Ben Carson
Steve Harvey reveals more details about Trump meeting, possibly working with Ben Carson

Comedian, author and broadcaster Steve Harvey discussed in greater detail his meeting last week with President-elect Donald Trump and says that moving forward he may work with Ben Carson, Trump’s nominee to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, on inner-city issues. “I walked...
Eddie Long death: Memorial service set for controversial megachurch pastor
Eddie Long death: Memorial service set for controversial megachurch pastor

The metro Atlanta megachurch led by Bishop Eddie L. Long has set a date for a memorial service for the controversial pastor.  New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia, will hold services for Long at 11 a.m. Jan. 25, Elder Craig Heath said during an early morning international prayer call. Long died Sunday at age...
WATCH: Good Samaritans save driver stuck on tracks seconds before train approaches
WATCH: Good Samaritans save driver stuck on tracks seconds before train approaches

Strangers saved a driver stuck on the tracks Friday in Portland, Oregon, seconds before a light rail train approached — and a KATU helicopter was there for the rescue. The vehicle, a rear-wheel drive Ford Mustang, was one of numerous cars to have trouble with the MAX light rail tracks near NE 99th Avenue and East Burnside...
More Stories