ASHLAND — Ashland County shrunk in population over the last decade, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The county lost 1.3% of its population from 2010 to 2020, data released Thursday shows. That places Ashland County in the middle (43rd) in terms of ranking of all the state's 88 counties.
That means Ashland County lost 692 people during that period.
Leading the state in population growth was Delaware County at 22.9%, or 39,910.
Wayne County, just east of Ashland, saw a population boost of 2.1%, or 2,374. Medina County, Ashland's northeast neighbor, saw a boost of 5.9%, or 10,138.
Huron County, to the northwest, saw a decrease of 1.8%. Richland County grew by 0.4%, ranking 29th in the state.
The state of Ohio saw growth of 2.3% over the last decade, adding 262,944 people. The state's growth lagged behind the country's by five percentage points, the data shows.
The 2020 census was the nation's 24th population count and marked the first made available to complete online. Its release Thursday came more than four months after the initial April 1 deadline.
The Census Bureau blamed the delay on COVID-19.
State officials will now use census data in redrawing congressional, legislative and local district boundaries.
Ohio’s Redistricting Commission has yet to schedule public hearings to get input on reshaping district maps. But the commission's co-chair state Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron, said it’s time to get to work.
“I am hopeful that this data will also be made available soon to the public in an accessible format so Ohioans can submit maps of their own,” Sykes said in a statement Thursday.
The Census Bureau said Thursday it will deliver a final "redistricting data toolkit" by Sept. 30, the same day the state's independent commission said the General Assembly is to complete a new map of congressional districts.
Check Ashland Source later for more on this story, including reactions from local officials and predictions for the decade ahead.