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Economy and Business

Fracking boom could boost Ohio's population
Jobs in the shale-drilling industry could stem Ohio's population slide, but it hasn't happened yet

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
The oil and gas drilling industry has led to a population boom in the Great Plains states. So far the fracking boom has not boosted Ohio's population, but that is expected to change as the industry adds jobs.
Courtesy of Tim Rudell
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In The Region:
The latest Census figures show population declines in the Cleveland-Akron area, but the fracking boom could turn that trend around, as WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports.
St.Clair: Fracking and population growth

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A recent U.S. Census Bureau report shows that states with a prominent oil and gas industry saw high levels of population growth last year, and Ohio might not be far behind. Mark Salling tracks Census data at Cleveland State University.  He says, although Ohio’s numbers are flat, the oil and gas boom could attract people to the Buckeye State.  

Salling says population growth in Ohio's fracking counties "is inevitable."  The more jobs you create, the more population you’re going to keep and draw to the state. But he cautions, "the extent to which they actually will grow is difficult to say because there are other forces that cause population loss.” 

The Ohio Petroleum Council says Ohio’s shale industry has created 38,000 jobs so far, and that could reach 140,000 jobs by 2020. But the Census numbers show six of Northeast Ohio’s eight counties lost population in 2012, with slight growth in Geauga and Medina counties. The Columbus region saw the highest growth last year, up nearly 1.4 percent.

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