MANSFIELD — The city’s population continued to decline in 2012, something it’s been doing since the late 1970s, but the latest numbers are not as grim as they’ve been in the past.
Mansfield was home to an estimated 47,052 people in 2012, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released this week, down from 47,256 in 2011, but the pace of the decline has slowed slightly; 47,718 people lived in the city in 2010.
Mansfield was hardly alone in losing residents last year. Every other city and village in Richland County recorded drops in 2012 from the previous year as well. But they, too, registered a slowdown in the decline.
Shelby was down to 9,171 residents in 2012, from 9,207 in 2011 and 9,292 in 2010; Ontario dropped to 6,156 (6,170 in 2011, 6,212 in 2010); Lexington to 4,766 (4,779 and 4,812) and Bellville to 1,894 (1,899 and 1,914), according to Census Bureau records.
Richland County’s smallest villages did not record statistically meaningful population changes in 2012, although they were also all lower.
Plymouth was down to 934, Butler to 924, Shiloh to 637 and Lucas to 606 people.
Richland County as a whole had a population of 122,673 people in 2012, the Census Bureau reported in March, down 1.2 percent from 124,195 in 2010.
Mansfield’s falling population picture is in line with the vast majority of the rest of Ohio’s cities, large and small, with the exception of the Columbus area, which continues to boom.
City officials, in collaboration with local economic development groups and the educational institutions North Central State College and The Ohio State University-Mansfield, are actively working at keeping younger generations in the Mansfield area, particularly by offering internships in the community.
“To speak in optimistic terms, we are ripe for renewal,” said Deanna West-Torrance, director of the North End Community Improvement Collaborative, said when Richland County’s latest population figures were released. “I think we have a lot of opportunities, in clearing out a lot of the blight, to rebuild and rebrand ourselves.”
In 2012, Mansfield recorded 3,098 births and 2,914 deaths, for a natural population increase of 184 people, the Census Bureau said. However, net migration numbers here were negative, with 2,032 domestic migrants leaving while 52 international migrants moved into Mansfield.
Mansfield’s population peaked at 55,047 in the 1970 decennial census. Its fastest rate of increase, 167.8 percent, occurred in the 1840s. Its steepest decline, 6.1 percent, took place during the 1980s.
Although 66 of Ohio’s 88 counties reported drops in population from 2010 to 2012, the state’s overall population is largely stable. The Census Bureau estimated the Buckeye State’s 2012 population at 11,544,225, up slightly from 11,538,290 in 2010, a gain of 0.1 percent.
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Who wants to live there? Ya cant walk down the average street without worring about some greedy welfare baby try to rob you of your shoes! Thumping vibrating cars infested with the towns drug dealers, rampantly disturbing every street they cruise down. Then you have swarms of thug a lugs walking down the middle of streets and wont get out of the way cause they think they got more rights that the cars do, even though they have to plate on their back sides. The majority of streets have boarded up, garbage dumps and riff raft hanging about the area. Then what jobs are actually available that aren’t minimum wage dead end jobs…not many at all. But yet the average rent in a dump, and theres lots of those, is more than the minimum job can support. The over priced real estate, in the better areas cant be had by a minimum wage job, as banks have pulled in the reigns on lending. The school system, well I think the police are there more than the trouble makers are, dealing with the thug a lugs who infest the place, making a lot of the good kids not wanting to go there in the first place.
Unless the economy improves the decline will continue. There is no sound reason for a young person to stay in Mansfield. Many of the seniors are leaving for the southeast ad southwest retirement centers…no income tax in TN, FL, and TX…while Ohio taxes you until death. He4y local leaders it’s all about good paying jobs…jobs…jobs.