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Metro Toledo shows 5% rise in population

Metropolitan Toledo grew by 5 percent and its population became older, more ethnically diverse, and increasingly homeless between 2000 and 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures.

Defined as Lucas, Wood, Fulton, and Ottawa counties, the metro area grew by 33,226 people to 651,429 in 2010, up from 618,203 in 2000.

There was a slight shift upward in the male population, from 297,932 males, or 48.2 percent of the population in 2000, to 316,734, or 48.6 percent of the population in 2010. Females accounted for 334,695 people, or 51.4 percent of the population, last year, compared to 320,271 people, or 51.8 percent, in 2000.

The Census Bureau figures listed the metro area's median age at 37.5 in 2010. It was 34.7 in 2000.

Whites accounted for 80.4 percent of metro Toledo's population in 2010, down from 82.1 percent in 2000.

Blacks or African-Americans made up 13.4 percent of the population in 2010, up from 12.8 percent in 2000.

Hispanic or Latinos had one of the biggest gains, representing 5.8 percent of the local population in 2010 and 4.4 percent of it in 2000.

A huge decline in the percentage of metro Toledo residents in occupied housing units, though, was a sign of the national housing crisis and northwest Ohio's poor economy. Only 87.3 percent of metro Toledo residents occupied housing units in 2010, down from 93.7 percent in 2000.

Meanwhile, the percentage of vacant housing units more than doubled, from 6.3 percent in 2000 to 12.7 percent in 2010, according to the Census.

Metro Toledo may also be part of another trend seen in the latest 2010 Census numbers. They hint at an emerging America where, by mid-century, city boundaries become indistinct and rural areas grow ever less relevant.

Rural America now accounts for just 16 percent of the nation's population, the lowest ever.

While rural America shrinks, larger U.S. metropolitan areas have enjoyed double-digit percentage gains in population over the past several decades. Since 2000, metros grew overall by 11 percent.

Blade News Services contributed to this report.

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