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Columbus, Ohio metropolitan area

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Columbus, Ohio metropolitan area

Columbus Metro Area
Map of Columbus Metro Area
Country United States
State(s) Ohio
Largest city Columbus
Other cities  - Dublin
 - Newark
 - Delaware
 - Lancaster
 - London
 - Marysville
 - Circleville
 - Chillicothe
 • Total 3,169.2 sq mi (8,208 km2)
Highest elevation 1,480 ft (450 m)
Lowest elevation 630 ft (192 m)
Population [1]
 • Total 1,994,536
 • Rank 32nd in the U.S.
 • Density 490.3/sq mi (189.3/km2)

The Columbus, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area is the metropolitan area centered on the American city of Columbus, Ohio. Definitions of what is commonly referred to as the "Columbus Area" vary. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the metropolitan area includes the counties of Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hocking, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Perry, Pickaway, and Union.[2] The population of the MSA is 1,967,066 according to census estimates,[3] ranking third in Ohio and 32nd in the nation.

The larger Combined Statistical Area (called the Columbus-Marion-Zanesville, OH Combined Statistical Area) adds the counties of Fayette, Guernsey, Knox, Logan, Marion, Muskingum, and Ross. It includes the Micropolitan Statistical Areas of Bellefontaine, Cambridge, Chillicothe, Marion, Mount Vernon, Washington Court House, and Zanesville, due to strong ties with Columbus.[4] The population of the CSA is 2,348,495 according to the 2012 census estimates, ranking 25th in the nation.

It is the third largest metropolitan area in the state of Ohio, behind Greater Cincinnati and Greater Cleveland and is one of the largest in the Midwestern United States. It is part of the Great Lakes Megalopolis containing an estimated 54 million people. It is also one of the fastest growing metro areas outside of the Sun Belt.


The public sector dominates the Central Ohio employment landscape, with the State of Ohio, The Ohio State University, and the United States Government accounting for an estimated 55,000 to 60,000 employees. When combined with Columbus City Schools, the City of Columbus, and Franklin County, the number swells to about 80,000 employees, making government jobs the area's largest employment sector.

The financial sector provides the second largest employment sector in Central Ohio. Nationwide Insurance a close second. Also headquartered in Columbus is Huntington Bank, with significant presence by banks such as KeyBank, Fifth Third, PNC Financial Services, Park National Corporation, and Commerce National Bank. In addition to Nationwide, other insurance-based companies in Central Ohio include Motorists Insurance, Grange Insurance, Safe Auto Insurance, and State Auto Insurance.

The manufacturing sector includes Honda, which operates their largest North American manufacturing complex in the Marysville area. Also in Marysville is Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, the maker's of Miracle Gro and various other soil and potting fertilizers. Located in downtown Columbus is AEP, which is one of the largest electric utility companies in the US. Mettler Toledo, a manufacturer of precision scales and scientific equipment, is based in the area known as Polaris. Worthington Industries, a large steel-processing company, is primarily located on the north side of Columbus near Worthington. The Ashland Inc. company has a large office space within Dublin. Anheuser-Busch operates one of their 12 breweries on the north side of Columbus. Hexion Specialty Chemicals (formerly part of Borden) is located in downtown Columbus. The Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories, makers of Ensure nutritional drink and Similac infant formula, is also headquartered in Columbus. T. Marzetti Company, a large food manuacturer, is headquartered in North Columbus, and has distribution centers and food manufacturing operations throughout Central Ohio. Homebuilders M/I Homes and Dominion Homes are located in Columbus.

The retail sector's biggest employer is clothing company Limited Brands, which is headquartered in New Albany. Retail brands within the Limited corporate umbrella include Victoria's Secret, Pink (Victoria's Secret), Bath & Body Works, and Henri Bendel. Companies that have been spun off from Limited Brands that are still headquartered in Central Ohio include Abercrombie & Fitch and Tween Brands, formerly Limited Too. Another apparel and furniture company located in Columbus is Retail Ventures. Their operating stores include DSW, Filene's Basement, American Signature, Rooms Today and Value City. Newark is also the headquarters of basket-maker Longaberger. The headquarters building is in the form of a five-story-tall basket, making it the largest basket in the world. The department store holding company Federated Department Stores was once based in Columbus, and included the Lazarus department store chain, before being re-branded under the Macy's brand name in 2005.

Central Ohio is home to two large fast food chains. Wendy's has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, while White Castle is located in Columbus. Smaller chains Charley's Grilled Subs and Steak Escape are Columbus-based as well. Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Bob Evans Restaurants, Max & Erma's, Damon's Grill, and Donatos Pizza are also based in the city.

In the health care sector is Cardinal Health, which is the highest-ranked Ohio-based company on the Fortune 500 list, and has its headquarters along I-270 in Dublin. Also in the health services sector is OhioHealth, which is a leading HMO.

Central Ohio has a well established tech sector as well. The Online Computer Library Center (owner of the Dewey Decimal System) is located across from Cardinal on the other side I-270. Microcenter, a retailer of computers and other electronic equipment, was started in Upper Arlington and is now based in Hilliard. A number of science-based companies also reside in Columbus, including Chemical Abstracts and the Battelle Memorial Institute R&D company. CompuServe was an independent firm headquartered and operated within Columbus before being acquired by WorldCom and AOL. Sterling Commerce (acquired by IBM in 2010) was headquartered near Dublin, adjacent to a large Qwest (now CenturyLink) facility.

Columbus is home to fractional ownership aircraft company NetJets and was previously home to Skybus Airlines, a low-cost airline that began flying in May 2007 but folded less than a year later. Columbus used to be an airline hub for America West Airlines, however AWA pulled their hub out of Port Columbus International Airport, making Central Ohio one of the largest US metro areas without a major airline hub. This is also due partly to the fact that relatively nearby cities such as Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Detroit all have major hubs. Columbus and Delaware, Ohio were slated to be stops along the proposed Ohio Hub passenger rail service between Cleveland and Cincinnati until Governor John Kasich killed the project.[5][6]

Columbus also has a booming start-up culture.[7] There are several business incubators and multiple resources available to help Central Ohio’s small business community thrive.[8] There is also a yearly Startup Weekend workshop.[9] In 2011, a start up founded by two locals gave Central Ohio its own social networking website,[10] As of 9/2012, Cbusr had attracted more than 3,000 active members ranging from entrepreneurs and creative professionals to musicians who meet online and connect offline at events.


Numerous K-12 school districts are found in the area. There are wide differences in setup, with some districts being mostly rural and having a small enrollment, while others are urban and have large enrollments.

Dozens of institutions of higher education can be found in the area, the largest of which is The Ohio State University in Columbus. Three of the prestigious Five Colleges of Ohio are located in the metro. They include Ohio Wesleyan University, located in Delaware, Denison University, in Granville (near Newark) and Kenyon College in Gambier. Other schools include Otterbein University in Westerville, OSU Newark (a branch campus of The Ohio State University), Central Ohio Technical College (also in Newark), OU Lancaster (a branch campus of Ohio University), Capital University in Bexley, Franklin University, Columbus State Community College, the Pontifical College Josephinum, the Methodist Theological School in Delaware, Ohio Dominican University, Columbus College of Art & Design, and Mount Vernon Nazarene University.



Numerous museums are located throughout the metropolis. Science lovers will enjoy visiting COSI, which has exhibits, demonstrations, IMAX movies and activities for all ages. The Columbus Museum of Art houses a fine collection of art and hosts many interesting exhibits throughout the year. Stargazers will enjoy Perkins Observatory, located just south of Delaware. The observatory hosts public programs, and serves as the home for the Columbus Astronomical Society. The Ohio Railway Museum, located in Worthington, features a large collection of both static and operational railway equipment. In Hilliard, a unique museum exists in the form of the Early Television Museum. This attraction features a large collection of TV's from the 1920s, 30's and 40's. Fans of Bruce Lee will find the Bruce Lee Legends of Martial Art Hall of Fame Museum located in Reynoldsburg particularly interesting. Nearby in Pickerington, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum draws those interested in classic cycles as well as its surrounding culture. Also in the area is the Mid-Ohio Historical Museum, located in Canal Winchester. Collections found here include thousands of antique and modern children's toys, a train display, and a miniature circus. Historical memorabilia of an entirely different kind can be found at the Motts Military Museum, located in Groveport.

Performing Arts

Columbus is the home of many renowned performing arts institutions, including Opera Columbus, BalletMet, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Contemporary American Theatre Company (CATCo), Shadowbox Cabaret and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. Throughout the summer, the Actors' Theatre offers free performances of Shakespearean plays in an open-air amphitheatre located in German Village.

There are numerous large concert venues in Columbus, including arenas such as Nationwide Arena, Value City Arena, and Columbus Crew Stadium. The Lifestyle Communities Pavilion (the LC for short) (formerly the PromoWest Pavilion), Veterans Memorial auditorium, and the Newport Music Hall, round out the city's music performance spaces. Recently, funding has been allocated to renovate the Lincoln Theatre, which was formerly a center for Black culture in Columbus.[11][12] Not far from the Lincoln Theatre is the King Arts Complex, which hosts various cultural events. The city also has a number of theatres downtown, including the historic Palace Theatre, the Ohio Theatre, the Southern Theatre, and the Riffe Center which houses The Capitol Theatre as well as two studio theatres. Much of the growth in entertainment capacity in Columbus has been recent. The construction of the Crew Stadium, Nationwide Arena, Value City Arena, the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion are all projects completed since 1990.

Fairs and Festivals

Events taking place within the Greater Columbus area include the Ohio State Fair, one of the largest state fairs in the United States, as well as the Little Brown Jug, a world-famous harness racing event taking place in Delaware. Comfest (officially The Community Festival) is arguably the largest free, non-corporate urban music and arts festival in the United States featuring 6 stages of music over 3 days in downtown's Goodale Park and has occurred annually in late June since 1972. Each year, Dublin hosts the Dublin Irish Festival, which attracts tens of thousands of people for a weekend of Irish food, music, and dance. Upper Arlington hosts its own arts festival annually on Labor Day, taking up a large portion of Northam Park. The Franklin County Fair is held annually in Hilliard.

The Columbus Arts Festival is a huge arts festival held each summer that attracts well-known and talented artists from all around the country. The fair features hundreds of artists of all types, several stages with musical performances, art-related activities for children, and traditional fair food as well as food from area restaurants.

Columbus also hosts a Latino Festival, Jazz & Rib Festival, International Festival, Asian Festival, and a city-wide Fourth of July celebration (Red, White & Boom).

Located southeast of Columbus, Lancaster is host to the annual Lancaster Festival, a 10-day celebration of music and the arts. The Festival has its own orchestra and draws visitors from all over the region.

In nearby Circleville, is home to the annual Circleville Pumpkin Show. This is known as Ohio's largest festival for drawing in an average 100,000 people per day to the community of less than 15,000 residents.


Professional teams

The Columbus metro area hosts two major league professional sports teams. The NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets call downtown's Nationwide Arena home. The 2008 Major League Soccer Cup Champion Columbus Crew play in Mapfre Stadium near the Ohio State Fairgrounds. The stadium was the first stadium in the United States designed specifically for Major League Soccer, and began the wave of construction of soccer-specific stadiums throughout the league (the majority of the league's teams own or share a dedicated soccer stadium).

The Columbus area hosts several minor league teams and semi-professional teams. The Columbus Clippers, which are the Cleveland Indians Triple-A minor league baseball team, play at Huntington Park, which opened at the beginning of the 2009 season. Major League Lacrosse's Ohio Machine play their home games at Selby Field, in Delaware. Two semi-professional football teams compete locally: the Columbus Comets of the Women's Professional Football League and the Ohio Swarm of the Mid Continental Football League. Both teams play in Dublin at Coffman High School. Columbus is also the home of the Columbus Lady Shooting Stars soccer team, who have their home field in Delaware at Roy Rike Field. Columbus was home to the Columbus Destroyers, an Arena Football team, prior to the league shutting down operations in 2009.

Other sports

The Ohio State Buckeyes dominate the sports landscape, with TV's tuned into Buckeye football and men's basketball games during their seasons. Other OSU sports also have a dedicated following, such as OSU baseball, women's basketball, and men's hockey, but football and basketball remain the longtime stalwarts of the Central Ohio sports mindset. The huge emphasis on OSU athletics has also created a backlash against the Buckeyes such that there is a sizable fanbase in Central Ohio for OSU's arch-rivals, the Michigan Wolverines.

Since 1976, Dublin has been the site of the PGA Tour's Memorial Tournament at the Muirfield Village golf course, designed by Jack Nicklaus. In 1987, the course hosted the Ryder Cup; in 1998 it hosted the Solheim Cup; and in 2013, it hosted the Presidents Cup. The LPGA's Wendy's Championship for Children was held in Columbus from 1999–2006.

Rahal Letterman Racing has a home in Hilliard and races in the Indy Racing League. Intersport Racing is located in Dublin and races in the American Le Mans Series. TruSports, owners of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, is found in Dublin as well.

In addition spectator sports, Columbus has a thriving participant sports spectrum as well. There are approximately 300 golf courses within the Central Ohio area, which is one of the highest ratios of golf courses per capita for a major metropolitan area. There are many on-road and off-road bike trails in the area, with the area being part of the statewide-connected system known as the Columbus Marathon and Race for the Cure 5K events are held annually in downtown Columbus as well.

The Columbus area is also home to the high school rugby state championships, which features both a boys and girls competition. The 2012 championships drew over 1,500 spectators, and the 2013 championships were broadcast on Time Warner Cable.[13]

Parks and recreation

In addition to numerous city parks, the Alum Creek, Hocking Hills State Park, and Rockbridge State Nature Preserve. The Hocking Hills region also includes parts of the Wayne National Forest, which makes for good Leaf peeping in the autumn. The Columbus suburb Westerville's Parks and Recreation department has won the National Gold Medal for outstanding parks and recreation in its last two years of eligibility (2001 and 2007).[14]

All cities, villages, townships, and communities

Delaware County

Fairfield County

Franklin County

Hocking County



Licking County




Madison County






Morrow County


Perry County


Pickaway County

Union County



Unincorporated communities


  1. ^
  2. ^ OMB BULLETIN NO. 13-01, Revised Delineations of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Micropolitan Statistical Areas, and Combined Statistical Areas, and Guidance on Uses of the Delineations of These Areas
  3. ^ [1], – "American Factfinder" July 2014.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ [2], – "In Pictures: America's Biggest Brain Magnets" Feb. 2011.
  8. ^ [3], Link to list of local small business incubators at
  9. ^ [4], link to Startup Weekend website
  10. ^ Dispatch - Real-life Chat Room, Published 7/4/2012
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ USA Rugby, High school state championships gain rugby exposure, June 4, 2013,
  14. ^ Full News

External links

  • Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission
  • Columbus Area Economic Development

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