Central Ohio is on track to become a region of 3 million people by 2050, according to the latest population estimates from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

The estimates are developed annually by MORPC to provide up-to-date insights into the patterns of growth in the 15-county region, according to a Dec. 19 news release from the commission.

“Estimating current populations and projecting future growth are important to local governments as ways to inform long-range planning efforts for villages, townships, cities and counties,” William Murdock, MORPC executive director, said in the release. “Keeping track of growth in the region has important implications for how communities plan for the future.”

MORPC estimates that this year alone, the region saw an increase of 43,000 residents – enough to fill both Nationwide Arena and the Schottenstein Center to capacity simultaneously and the largest single-year of growth in central Ohio’s history. This equates on average to 118 people coming into the area each day, the release said. The region’s total population is estimated to be 2.4 million people.

Franklin County accounted for 70 percent (1.3 million) of the increase, gaining nearly 30,000 residents, an additional 82 new residents per day, the release said.

Columbus this year surpassed 900,000 residents, adding nearly 22,000 over the past year, the release said.

MORPC cited migration as one of several factors fueling the growth. Since 2010, for every resident gained from natural population growth, another moved into central Ohio, the release said.

Prolonged population booms or economic slowdowns or other unforeseen factors could have an effect on the estimates, the release said. For this reason, MORPC models a range of growth for the future and uses the most likely scenario for its projections.

“What’s important is that central Ohio is a rapidly growing region, and that growth is not showing signs of slowing down,” Murdock said in the release. “Collectively as a region, we have the opportunity to plan for this growth in a sustainable way that delivers a range of transportation options, offers affordable housing options, ensures all residents have opportunities for economic success and makes efficient use of our resources.”

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