2020 to 2050 Population Projections

Population estimates for the region are based on the 2020 Decennial Census. County-level population projections were developed by the Ohio and Kentucky state data centers, and components of population change analysis for Dearborn County, based on the best available Census data. These population projections were used as a starting point for OKI’s population projections, with methodological changes to reflect recent trends in population growth in the region.

Population by County

According to Census Bureau and OKI estimates, the OKI region surpassed 2 million residents in 2015 and continues to grow. Between 2020 and 2050, the combined population of all eight counties is expected to grow an additional 6%, from 2.12 million to 2.25 million. 49% of that growth will occur between 2020 and 2030 and steadily slow each decade after to 2050. The 2020 Decennial Census population for the OKI Region came in 35,133 persons higher than previously projected; but the overall growth rate for the region has decreased through the planning period.

Population Change by County

As the Cincinnati metropolitan area has expanded over the years, growth has radiated through Hamilton County into the surrounding areas. Population is projected to continue to increase in the remaining counties over the 30-year planning period, except for Campbell and Butler counties. Aging population and a decline in births and children will cause both counties to peak in population in 2030, and then decline after. Both Boone and Warren counties will gain the largest number of people through 2050, as development continues around Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) for Boone County and the exurbs of Dayton and Cincinnati continue into Warren County.

Hamilton County consistently lost population during the last three decades of the 20th century. But his trend has reversed itself the past several years. Hamilton County is expected to have a slightly decreasing share of the region’s population (a projected drop from 39.2% in 2020 to 37.5% in 2050), over the next 30 years. Yet, it will still gain 15,415 more residents. Hamilton County will gain the fourth largest number of residents, behind Warren (50,172), Boone (45,765), and Clermont (17,791) counties. Butler and Campbell counties population will peak in 2030, then decline through 2050. Warren is projected to be the fastest growing county in the region, accounting for roughly 36% of total population growth.

Population Trends for Selected Metropolitan Areas

The OKI Region is wholly contained within the Cincinnati Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). While the OKI region had a population of 2.127 million in 2020, the larger Cincinnati MSA had a population of 2.257 million. This means the OKI Region accounted for about 94% of the population within the Cincinnati MSA. Since MSAs have a standardized definition, this section compares past growth among regional MSAs. Greater Cincinnati has added the third largest number of new residents since 1990 among the selected MSAs. It is expected that the larger MSAs within Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana — including Greater Cincinnati — will continue to lead the way in population growth through 2050. The population growth in Columbus and Indianapolis continue to exceed that of the Cincinnati MSA. It is expected that the Cincinnati MSA will fall behind Indianapolis and Columbus in total population by 2030.

Age Composition for the OKI Region

All age cohorts will gain in population by 2050, but generational sizes of the Millennials and Baby Boomers influence the size and regional share of each age cohort. The regional share of those 65 and older will increase from 15.5% to 17.7%, and will peak in 2030 due to the age of the Baby Boomers. The regional share of those under 20 will decline from 26.2% to 25.0% and reach a minimum in 2030 because of Millennials delaying having children until later in life and having less children overall. The regional share of those under 20 will also remain below the current 2020 share of 26.2% at around 25% for the remainder of the planning period.

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