Thursday, March 22, 2018

How many people live near the Ohio River?

At 12:01 a.m. today, the Census Bureau released its county population estimates for July 1, 2017. Being a numbers nerd, I had to see which of the 73 counties along the river had gained population since the April 1, 2010, census and how many had seen a net loss of population.

Here are the numbers for all 73 counties. Each county on the list has part of its border on the river, whether it’s a couple of miles or a dozen or two. Counties are listed by state beginning with Allegheny County, Pa., and ending with Alexander County, Ill. That way it starts in Pittsburgh and ends in Cairo. That’s how all Ohio River lists are supposed to work, right?

If you don’t want to wade through the numbers, here are some quick takeaways:

In this decade, the total population of all Ohio River counties has increased by about eight-tenths of 1 percent.

Only two states showed population growth in their Ohio River counties. Indiana counties gained 12,383 people while Kentucky counties gained 61,904. The two Ohio River counties in Pennsylvania lost 4,699. Ohio’s Ohio River counties lost 1,918. West Virginia’s 12 river counties showed a net loss of 15,130. The six counties in Illinois lost a combined 4,588 people. Not one of the six counties in Illinois showed a net population gain in this decade.

Alexander County, Ill., where Cairo is located, had the greatest percentage decrease, but the county had a small population to begin with. In small counties, a change that would be insignificant in a large one is magnified.

Of the 73 Ohio River counties, 12 had 100,000 or more residents last year, and 25 had fewer than 10,000. As fate would have it, Cabell County, W.Va., where I live, is very conscious about its population numbers, and it fell short of 100,000. It ranks 13th on the list.

Of the counties with more than 100,000 people, Boone County, Ky., had the greatest percentage growth and Columbiana County, Ohio, had the greatest percentage loss.

The complete list is below:

CountyApril 1, 2010, CensusJuly 1, 2017, estimateChangePct. Change
Allegheny County, PA1,223,3481,223,048-3000.00%
Beaver County, PA170,539166,140-4399-2.60%
Columbiana County, OH107,841103,077-4764-4.40%
Jefferson County, OH69,70966,359-3350-4.80%
Belmont County, OH70,40068,029-2371-3.40%
Monroe County, OH14,64213,946-696-4.80%
Washington County, OH61,77860,418-1360-2.20%
Athens County, OH64,75766,59718402.80%
Meigs County, OH23,77023,080-690-2.90%
Gallia County, OH30,93429,973-961-3.10%
Lawrence County, OH62,45060,249-2201-3.50%
Scioto County, OH79,49975,929-3570-4.50%
Adams County, OH28,55027,726-824-2.90%
Brown County, OH44,84643,576-1270-2.80%
Clermont County, OH197,363204,21468513.50%
Hamilton County, OH802,374813,822114481.40%
Hancock County, WV30,67629,448-1228-4.00%
Brooke County, WV24,06922,443-1626-6.80%
Ohio County, WV44,44342,035-2408-5.40%
Marshall County, WV33,10731,190-1917-5.80%
Wetzel County, WV16,58315,437-1146-6.90%
Tyler County, WV9,2088,795-413-4.50%
Pleasants County, WV7,6057,512-93-1.20%
Wood County, WV86,95685,104-1852-2.10%
Jackson County, WV29,21128,976-235-0.80%
Mason County, WV27,32426,801-523-1.90%
Cabell County, WV96,31994,958-1361-1.40%
Wayne County, WV42,48140,153-2328-5.50%
Dearborn County, IN50,04749,741-306-0.60%
Ohio County, IN6,1285,828-300-4.90%
Switzerland County, IN10,61310,696830.80%
Jefferson County, IN32,42832,089-339-1.00%
Clark County, IN110,232116,97367416.10%
Floyd County, IN74,57877,07124933.30%
Harrison County, IN39,36439,8985341.40%
Crawford County, IN10,71310,566-147-1.40%
Perry County, IN19,33819,081-257-1.30%
Spencer County, IN20,95220,394-558-2.70%
Warrick County, IN59,68962,53028414.80%
Vanderburgh County, IN179,703181,61619131.10%
Posey County, IN25,91025,595-315-1.20%
Boyd County, KY49,54247,979-1563-3.20%
Greenup County, KY36,91035,518-1392-3.80%
Lewis County, KY13,87013,339-531-3.80%
Mason County, KY17,49017,174-316-1.80%
Bracken County, KY8,4888,267-221-2.60%
Pendleton County, KY14,87714,573-304-2.00%
Campbell County, KY90,33692,48821522.40%
Kenton County, KY159,720165,39956793.60%
Boone County, KY118,811130,7281191710.00%
Gallatin County, KY8,5898,7761872.20%
Carroll County, KY10,81110,713-98-0.90%
Trimble County, KY8,8098,561-248-2.80%
Oldham County, KY60,31666,415609910.10%
Jefferson County, KY741,096771,158300624.10%
Bullitt County, KY74,31980,24659278.00%
Hardin County, KY105,543108,07125282.40%
Meade County, KY28,60228,154-448-1.60%
Breckinridge County, KY20,05920,111520.30%
Hancock County, KY8,5658,8012362.80%
Daviess County, KY96,656100,37437183.80%
Henderson County, KY46,25045,928-322-0.70%
Union County, KY15,00714,668-339-2.30%
Crittenden County, KY9,3159,084-231-2.50%
Livingston County, KY9,5199,269-250-2.60%
McCracken County, KY65,56565,385-180-0.30%
Ballard County, KY8,2498,039-210-2.50%
Gallatin County, IL5,5895,080-509-9.10%
Hardin County, IL4,3204,046-274-6.30%
Pope County, IL4,4704,325-145-3.20%
Massac County, IL15,42914,344-1085-7.00%
Pulaski County, IL6,1615,509-652-10.60%
Alexander County, IL8,2386,315-1923-23.30%
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; the Ohio River Blog

One thing to remember is that these numbers are estimates based on births, deaths and migration. As we get further out from the actual headcount at the beginning of the decade, the estimates can veer off from the actual population numbers.

According to the Census Bureau, from 2016 to 2017 Allegheny County ranked fifth of the list of counties nationwide in numeric decrease. Close to the Ohio River, Kanawha County, W.Va., was 10th on that list. For Mississippi River fans, St. Louis, which I assume is separated from a county, was fourth on the list.

No Ohio River county appeared on the list of fastest-growing counties.

A final note: Now that I have a list of Ohio River counties all nice and sorted, I can work on other things. I’ve been thinking about one economic indicator that I might work on soon.