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Ohio's modest population growth due to immigrants

According to a recent Census Bureau estimate, Ohio ranks 45th in the country in population growth. Ohio’s troubles with population decline have been well documented but this most recent estimate is interesting because of an important conclusion it reaches. The state’s very narrow growth would have easily turned into decline if it weren’t for new residents coming from other countries.

That’s right, immigrants! They are the reason that Ohio’s population grew by 0.3% since 2010, rather than decline. About 50,000 foreigners settled here and helped to offset the loss of Ohio residents moving to other states.

While 0.3% population growth is nothing to boast about, it is preferable to population decline--something Ohio cities, like Cleveland, have struggled with in the past.  And it’s clear that immigrants are a vital part of this. If we want to increase population growth, we need to attract more immigrants.

Michigan was one of the few states that ranked lower than Ohio in terms of population growth. But last week, Governor Rick Snyder announced a plan to attract immigrants to Detroit in hopes of revitalizing the city and state’s economy and increasing population growth. The plan would involve reserving 50,000 EB-2 visas over the next five years for skilled foreign nationals who agree to work and live in the city.

Ohio should seriously consider this proposal. 0.3% population growth is better than none, but it’s not too far off.

Source “Ohio ranks 45th for population growth; gain in foreign migration one plus area”. Rich Exner. January 28, 2014. The Plain Dealer.

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