Cincinnati loses 10.4% of its population over past decade according to Census Bureau

Contrary to the U.S. Census Bureau’s own annual estimates and revisions, Cincinnati and Hamilton County both lost population from 2000 to 2010. Hamilton County, Ohio’s third most populous, lost 5.1 percent of its population which is now 802,374. Meanwhile, the City of Cincinnati lost 10.4 percent of its population over the same time period.

The numbers are sobering for a mayor and city that had thought population declines were beginning to level over recent years. Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory even led the charge to get out higher response rates for the city, but his efforts fell well short of the 378,259 person goal with only 296,943 people counted in the city during the 2010 hard count.

During the 2010 Census count, it is estimated that only 70 percent of households responded in the City of Cincinnati which fell below the 74 percent national average. Inner city neighborhoods saw signficantly lower response rates across the state.

While the primary city in the Cincinnati metropolitan statistical area lost population, the region as a whole continued to add people. The largest percentage growth took place in Warren County which now is home to 212,693 people. Butler County also saw gains and remains the region’s second largest county with 368,130 people.

Elsewhere in Ohio every major city lost signficant population except for Columbus which grew 10.6 percent and now has 787,033 people within its city boundaries.

UrbanCincy will update this report over the coming days as we are fully able to analyze these numbers. There is a lot of data out there and we will break it all down, so stay tuned.

  • CincyCapell

    I have to wonder how much the changes in the Section 8 housing program since 2000 have effected the city. Many participants in that program now get a voucher and can live in any unit in the county, as long as the owner accepts the vouchers. There was a huge flight of Section 8 residents out of OTR after the voucher program started, I wonder how many of them left the City?

  • Dave

    But according to the Census Bureau’s 2006 estimates, the population was 332,252! Now they’re telling us they were way off with that estimate or the city lost 35,000 people since 06? Strange…

  • Scott

    This has been a bad week for Cincinnati.

  • Dave, our dear mayor arm-twisted the census bureau into monkeying with the numbers. The 2006 estimates were total BS. The truth has been evident for a few years; you can get it here:

    The day of reckoning has arrived for Mallory’s con-job. Denial is no longer an option.

  • So are you saying that the U.S. Census Bureau is corrupt and easily manipulated by local and state leaders around the country?

  • Harsh phrasing Randy, but what’s your alternative theory? Presumably the census bureau used the same methodology (used everywhere else in the country) in 2000 and 2010 and measured a decline. But when they received pressure from Mallory they found 35,000 more.

  • @Skeptical Joe: I’m not the one making the allegations…I’m just asking the question.

    I think the actual issue is that the U.S. Census Bureau has a flawed methodology when it comes to counting people in cities. Their annual estimates seem to be a joke in cities, but are fairly accurate in suburban areas. The Census Bureau is also infamous for not being able to fully count inner city populations…thus resulting in many minorities not ever being counted.

    I don’t think this means anyone is crooked, or manipulating the system as COAST seems to be claiming, but I do think it shows some startling issues that need to be resolved.

  • @Randy A. Simes: Fair enough. Regardless, as they used a similar methodology in 2000 our best estimate is the city lost 35,000 people from 2000 (My understanding is the Obama Admin made changes to improve the counting of cities, but I have no idea how effective they were). Whether the starting point was 330,000 or 370,000, the trend is worrying and the main story.

  • Dale Brown

    The census bureau is a joke because people in the “inner city” are too afraid, busy, whatever to fill out a form that takes 5 minutes?

    It’s always someone else’s fault.

  • I’m confused. Just the other day the US Census Bureau released an “estimate” saying that Hamilton County and Cincinnati grew. Then the next day they come out with the full results and claim we lost 10% of our population? Obviously something is wrong with their estimating methods. I disagree with COAST (as always) that Mallory twisted the arms of the Census Bureau. Poor estimates gave us all false hopes. It’s unfortunate, but I really do believe that this is a trend that cannot continue much longer.

    Does anyone know how the Census results are going to affect our representation? I have heard Ohio could lose about 2 seats in the House because of the 2010 Census.

  • That Social Compact methodology or whatever is useless. The Census Bureau is subject to political pressure, and there was little reason not to basically approve every single protest. I said we’d find out after the Census what the facts where, and here we are.

    Perhaps the Census does undercount urban areas, but there’s no reason to believe they actually got worse at it since the last Census.

    On the other hand, Cincy shouldn’t feel too bad as the same pattern has repeated in virtually every city I’ve looked at, including such diverse places as Indy, St. Louis, and Chicago.

  • Roselyn

    My daughter living on campus at Xavier was never counted. The census form said she would be counted at school and when I asked her she said she never was contacted in any manner. I think maybe there were more errors than you think this census.

  • B. W.

    Our city has such an old building stock and so many buildings look vacant from the outside, that I imagine Census workers might have skipped a fair number of untraditional dwellings. Most of the enumerators are retired people looking for additional income who are not going to go looking under bridges, or in forest like Burnet and in boarded up homes to find people living in poverty. Thats why we have the Census appeal process, to try to fairly estimate those hidden numbers.

  • Alex P.

    What I find funny is that there’s all this fuss in Cincy about this number or that number – especially from the Mayor – when the reality, that y’all are going down the tubes – never seems to be mentioned. It’s almost sad that even after multiple successful public votes and federal appropriations to your Streetcar, the damn thing will still never get built because the Cadre of Idiots that seem to run your town and state don’t understand the new realities of how cities compete for business and talent. I feel deeply sorry for y’all who are fighting the good fight for Cincy’s future. You’ve got a seriously steep climb ahead of you. I wouldn’t have that kind of thick skin or patience.

  • crankyoldbitch

    I never understand all the pessimism about Cincy. Alex P, where do you live and what’s your basis for claiming Cincy is going down the tubes? The revitalization I found when I returned to the area was incredible to me. Fountain Square had been renovated, and is now a destination for all types of activities. I would never have driven through OTR when I lived here before, and now there are new shops and lofts and restaurants that are as cool as anyplace else I’ve lived. We have a great downtown, and great public library, and an affordable cost of living. Eden Park is a gem, along w the Art Museum, and one of my fav places to spend time. Honestly, I just don’t see where Cincy is circling the drain.

  • chuck

    Columbus has city limits nearly out to the county lines. Cincinnati the city is a much smaller space than Hamilton county. It’s apples and oranges, because of sprawl in this area, not to mention land-locked towns like Norwood that don’t count as “Cincinnati”.

    Hamilton county and Franklin county are roughly the same population (they were equal in 1980) but one has decreased and the other increased.

  • Joe

    The reason I feel that Cincinnati’s population declined so dramatically is the outlying neighborhoods. These neighborhoods like College Hill, Spring Grove, and Price Hill are rapidly losing residents due an aging housing stock, the foreclosure crisis, and a variety of other factors. I actually see the core strengthening in OTR and Uptown, adding new housing units and jobs. Uptown is doing especially well with several major projects including 65 West, the renovation of Vernon Manor, and several projects in the pipeline. Comparatively little to nothing is being built or renovated in the city’s outlying neighborhoods.