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Township Officials Confused by Reported 40% Population Decline

Administrators of Bath Township, Ohio, aren’t sure why the 2020 Census reported a 40 percent decline in population as compared to the 2010 report. Officials suspect the loss is a data glitch; surrounding communities have been shrinking.

(TNS) — According to the Census data, Bath Twp. has lost 40.6 percent of its population from 2000 to 2020. In the 2000 Census, Bath Twp. had a population of 8,225, which has declined to a 2020 Census population of 4,883.

"It's a head-scratcher," said Bath Twp. Administrator Pete Bales.

Bales thinks portions of Bath Twp. population numbers may have been shifted into other adjacent Census tracts as the township includes parts of Wright-Patterson AFB, Wright State University and Fairborn.

"We haven't seen a shift in people leaving the township," Bales said. "There hasn't been much annexation and tremendous growth in the township."

Understanding Losses

While Bath Twp. suspects their population loss is a data glitch, other area communities concede they have been shrinking. And they are working to reverse it.

Montgomery County lost 3.89 percent of its population from 2000-20 but gained 0.4 percent from 2010 and 2020. The 2020 population of Montgomery County was 537,309.

"Our role is to provide an environment — amenities, services, jobs, housing — for families to want to move into Montgomery County. We are doing these things," said Keith Lavoie, Montgomery County assistant communications director.

The city of Dayton has seen a declining population for the past few decades. Tony Kroeger, Dayton's planning and land use division manager, said there was outward growth from Dayton starting in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1960, the population was 262,000, he said.

According to the 2020 Census, Dayton has a population of 138,310, about half of its 1960 population.

Kroeger said there were major forces which affected the population then such as suburban growth, changes in manufacturing and age of housing.

"We're looking forward. This was a party in the making for the past seven decades," he said. "The bottom hasn't fallen out. Stabilization and future growth are coming to Dayton. It's realistic to see growth in 2030."

Kroeger added that the strong building growth downtown and investment there brings population.

"The downtown is a major component," he said. "We're seeing interest in housing stock outside of downtown and continued investment in the neighborhoods."

Quincy E. Pope Sr., Trotwood's city manager, said that "there is a direct correlation between the 2008 Great Recession and the city's population losses.

Between 2000 and 2020, Trotwood's population dropped nearly 16 percent from 27,407 to 23,027.

He said the city was hurt as jobs left the area to go overseas or to the South.

"We were hurt when NCR and GM took those jobs South," Pope said. "We had 1,000 houses vacated. We saw growth coming until the Memorial Day tornados (in 2019)."

Pope said the city has recovered about 98 percent but people were lost, there was a lack of housing and a lot of people moved to Greene County and elsewhere. However, he said the city is looking at sustainable electric vehicle jobs as well as other technical jobs at Wright-Patterson and at the announced Honda and Intel projects.

"We're recovering," he said. "We've had $52 million in investment over the past two years. We're on the rebound. We're a renaissance community.

(c)2022 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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