BY ED GEBERT
Business Journal Writer
FINDLAY — Hancock County has shown great population growth into the 21st Century, expanding from 40,793 in 1940 to an estimated 75,773 in 2013. The most recent census lists the population in 2010 at 74,782. The majority of the population living in the cities or villages is in the county seat of Findlay, which has a population of 41,202. A portion of the City of Fostoria is also in Hancock County with just over 2,900 people of its total of 13,400 people in Hancock County. Other villages and cities in or partially in the county include Bluffton, Arlington, McComb, Benton Ridge, Mount Cory, Rawson, Bluffton, Jenera, Mount Blanchard, Vanlue, Van Buren, and Arcadia.
Even with the number of people, the county still features many open areas. In all, just over 80 percent of the county is used as farm ground. Nearly the same amount of ground is in pasture land as there is in urban and residential uses. The county contains just over 531 square miles of land, and the taxable value of real property is over $1.64 billion with another $1 billion in residential property, $312 million in agricultural land, $85 million in industrial, and $234.3 million in commercial property.
Unemployment in the county has dropped from just over 10 percent in early 2009 to 3.4 percent in October of 2014. The number of unemployed seeking jobs in the county has decreased during that same time from over 4,000 person to 1,400 people. Among workers in the county, 85 percent receive a private wage or salary, nine percent are government employees and another six percent are self-employed.
The Tall Timbers West Industrial park was announced in 2014, which will consist of a new McLane’s Grocery distribution facility located on 88 acres south of Hancock County Rd 212 just west of Hancock County Rd. 18 and east of the CSX Railroad. The total project consists of 350 acres of land with water and sewer service, electricity and natural gas available.
The civilian labor force stands at 40,800 as of October 2014 with 39,400 of those currently employed. In the private sector, the state lists 1,677 establishments in Hancock County — 254 of those are goods-producing. Those establishments pay an average weekly wage of $1,148. Another 1,423 establishments are service-providing with an average wage of $632 per week. The goods-producing establishments employ an average of 13,194 while the service industry jobs number 24,906. A total of 365 business starts have occurred in Hancock County since 2010.
A total of 36 public school buildings are in use in the county in addition to two non-public schools. The public and private schools serve more than 12,000 students with 760 full-time equivalent teachers in the public schools. There are two public libraries and one branch library in the county.
Half of all workers in Hancock County drive less than 15 minutes to work per day. Another 34.6 percent drive 15-29 minutes to their jobs. The mean travel time for all workers is 17.1 minutes.
Mean household income in the county is $49,350, with 12.7 percent of households earning between $75,000-$99,999 annually. Across the county, 27.7 percent of families are married couples with their own children while another 57.2 percent are families with no children of their own in the household. Around 10 percent of families earn below the poverty level. Of those living below the line, 68 percent are earning 200 percent or more of the poverty level.
Of the entire population of Hancock County, 37.4 percent of persons have a high school diploma, another 20.2 percent have at least some college, and 16 percent have a bachelor’s degree. Around 84 percent of persons live in the same house as last year and another nine percent live in a different house also in Hancock County.
The county has three state parks and nature preserves on 644 acres. Hancock County is home to 152 doctors. There are two hospitals with a total of 198 beds, as well as five registered nursing homes with 574 beds and nine licensed residential care facilities with 804 available beds.