COLUMBUS — Central Ohio counties are leading the state in population growth categories.
Population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau show Franklin County — home to Columbus — recorded by far the most births in the state last year, 18,200. The birth rate of 15.21 per 1,000 residents in Franklin beat out Hamilton County — home to Cincinnati — which had a birth rate of 13.73.
Delaware County had the biggest percentage growth — 2.09 percent — in the state last year.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that Ohio on the whole lost almost 7,400 people to migration last year. Nearly half of that loss occurred in Cuyahoga County, home to Cleveland.
Three-fourths of the state’s counties had a net loss of residents because of people moving out of Ohio.
Hocking County in southeast Ohio had the biggest percentage population loss — 2.34 percent.
Statistics show that Franklin County is closing in on Cuyahoga County and could become Ohio’s most populated by the 2020 census. Franklin County had 1,212,263 people as of July 2013. That’s an increase of 46,293, or 4 percent, over the last three years.
Cuyahoga County, meanwhile, fell to 1,263,154, leaving it about 50,000 residents ahead of Franklin. However, Cuyahoga County’s population losses have slowed from 8,200 in 2011, to 4,000 in 2012, to 2,900 last year.
Ohio had more than 11.5 million residents last year. The state’s population was up 17,777 residents over 2012.