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U.S. Census: Columbus metro bigger than that of Cleveland, gaining on Cincinnati

Central Ohio, more neighbors are moving in.

COLUMBUS -- New census estimates released Thursday show the Columbus metro area now has more people than the Cleveland metro area.

The Columbus metro area, which includes 10 counties within commuting distance of the city, has surpassed that of Cleveland by about 20,000 people. The 2017 estimates show the Columbus metro area with 2,078,725 people. That's compared to the Cleveland metro area with 2,058,844 people.

Delaware County is one of the fastest growing communities in Central Ohio. Delaware Community Affairs Coordinator, Lee Yoakum, said since 2010, the population has increased by 14-percent. In 2017, Delaware saw the second highest number of building permits ever, and community leaders expect the trend to continue this year.

Yoakum said Sandusky Street, home to a long list of new restaurants, cafes, retail shops, and microbreweries, has earned itself the nickname the North Short North.

At the Hamburger Inn, which opened its doors in 1932, chef Mike Cram said business is booming in downtown Delaware on any given weekend.

"It's non stop," said Cram. "It runs from 7 in the morning until 9 or 10 at night."

The Columbus Metro Area is still trailing behind Cincinnati’s metro area. It has about 100,000 more people with an estimated 2,179,082 people.

Economist Bill LaFayette, the founder of Columbus-based Regionomics, told 10TV's partners at the Columbus Dispatch given current trends, the Columbus metro area would catch Cincinnati’s metro area by 2024.

The Dispatch says the Census Bureau makes its domestic migration estimates based on building permits for housing, so a recent boom in apartment complexes that cater to young workers could account for that jump.