August 2, 2014

Elyria
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GOODBYE, C-TOWN

Here’s a shocker: The 2009 census estimates show that Avon and Avon Lake continue to grow.

OK, so that isn’t shocking at all — just take a drive through both communities, and the growth is here, there and everywhere.

Avon added another 328 residents from July 1, 2008, to July 1, 2009, according to census estimates. The city has added a whopping 5,178 residents since July 1, 2001, according to census figures.

The growth in Avon Lake was nearly identical — the city has added 5,169 residents since July 1, 2001, and from 2008 to 2009, it grew by 356 residents, according to the census.
Lorain, too, showed some growth — albeit nothing on par with Avon and Avon Lake.

The city — hard-hit when manufacturing shops closed, a Ford Motor Co. plant closed and the steel mill scaled back dramatically — actually has logged growth through the decade, according to the census estimates. It grew by 26 people from July 1, 2008, to July 1, 2009, but saw its population rise from 68,876 in July 2001 to 70,263 in July 2009, according to census estimates.

Elyria, however, wasn’t so fortunate. Its population continues to slump and it dropped 60 residents from the 2008 tally to 54,969, according to census estimates. That means the city lost 1,182 residents since July 1, 2001.

Among the nation’s biggest cities, the figures show Cleveland had the largest numerical decline in residents, dropping 2,658, or nearly 1 percent. It was followed by Detroit, which lost 1,713 people, and Flint, Mich., down 1,382.

Other losers include Baltimore, Buffalo, N.Y., and Pittsburgh, as well as the Florida cities of Cape Coral and St. Petersburg, two retirement destinations on the Gulf Coast. They declined as more older Americans stayed put in California, the Northeast and Texas.

“Many baby boomers and young adults are still in a holding pattern,” said Mark Mather, associate vice president at the nonprofit Population Reference Bureau. “They are staying close to big cities where most jobs are located, waiting for the economy and housing market to bounce back before they make their next move.”

The numbers reflect an overall trend in which jobs have become a predominant factor in U.S. migration as the government winds down its high-stakes 2010 census count.

Growth in once-torrid regions in the South and West such as Arizona, Nevada and Florida is slowing due to the housing crunch, while many big cities are gaining as they hold onto more residents.

In all, four of the 10 fastest-growing cities in 2009 were in Texas, which saw substantial population gains due to a stronger labor market and immigrant growth. Frisco, a bedroom community outside of Dallas, ranked at the top, growing 6.2 percent to 102,412 people.

Other Texas gainers were McKinney, Round Rock and Lewisville, increasing between 3.3 percent and 5.5 percent.

In contrast, growth in Phoenix, Atlanta, Albuquerque, N.M., Las Vegas and Jacksonville, Fla., slowed by as much as 2.4 percentage points since 2006.

Those cities were victims of a foreclosure crisis that made it harder for new residents to move in.

“Steady growth will make Texas cities the big winners when the 2010 census comes out next year,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings Institution.

The Washington, D.C., region continued its rapid growth in 2009, boosted largely by federal government jobs. Alexandria and Arlington, both located in Virginia near the nation’s capital, each added more than 3 percent to rank as the fifth and seventh fastest-growing cities, respectively.