More than three-quarters of Medina County’s increase in population in the past three years came in the townships, according to the latest Census Bureau estimates.
The new report, released today, estimated the county’s 17 township gained about 1,980 residents since the 2010 census — an increase of about 2.4 percent.
The township gain was 77 percent of the county’s overall increase of 2,583 residents.
Brunswick gained 289 residents and Wadsworth gained 275. But Medina saw a decrease of 108 residents for a net change of only 456 residents, or less than 1 percent.
The county’s six villages also grew faster than the cities — for a combined gain of 147 residents or 1.8 percent.
All of the townships posted gains, ranging from 2.1 percent to 2.7 percent over the three years.
Montville, Brunswick Hills and Medina townships grew the most.
That didn’t surprise Robert Henwood, director of the Medina County Department of Planning Services.
“They’re right in line with the zoning permits that are issued,” he said.
Henwood said he also wasn’t surprise Medina didn’t grow in population because the city has little open land available for new homes.
“Medina is effectively built out,” he said. “Brunswick still has some space and Brunswick has done more recently with multifamily homes than Medina has.”
He added, “I do think that it’s surprising — and maybe a little alarming — that Medina is actually seeing a little bit of decrease in population.”
Henwood speculated that one of the reasons for the decline might be children of city residents moving away as adults.
Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell suggested the trend toward smaller families might be a factor.
“You may have had a family with four people and then Mom and Dad get a condo” after the children are grown, he said. “If the couple that moves in doesn’t have children, that four-person household has dropped to two.”
Hanwell agreed that Medina doesn’t have much room for new homes, but said that wasn’t unexpected.
“City Council made an intentional decision more than 10 years ago not to annex any additional land,” he said. “They wanted to keep the small-town feel. They were concerned about that.”
Medina County remains one of the fastest-growing counties is the state.
In March, the Census Bureaus estimated 174,915 people lived in Medina County as of July 1, 2013 — 2,583 more than counted in 2010.
The county’s 1.5 percent growth rate ranked ninth among Ohio’s 88 counties and was more than double the 0.6 percent-growth rate of Geauga County, the next fastest-growing county in the Cleveland Metropolitan Statistical Area.
But the county grew much faster in the previous two decades.
The growth was explosive in some townships.
From 2000 to 2010, Montville Township’s population more than doubled and Brunswick Hills grew by more than 81 percent.
From 1990 to 2000, Medina County’s population jumped by 23.5 percent.
Contact reporter David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or firstname.lastname@example.org.