According to jibin123, Akron, along with Canton and Massillon, is a medium-sized metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Ohio and is located just south of the greater Cleveland metropolitan area, but is often seen as separate from it. In 2021, Akron had 189,000 inhabitants, Canton 70,000 inhabitants and Massillon 32,000 inhabitants. The metropolitan area consists primarily of Stark and Summit County, which together had a population of 911,000 in 2021.
The location of Summit & Stark County.
Statistically, Akron, Canton, and Massillon belong to the Greater Cleveland Combined Statistical Area. Because CSAs are so large that they often cover several urban areas, the definition of the CSA is less used in practice. The cities of Akron, Canton, and Massillon are centers in their own right, not actually within Cleveland ‘s direct area of influence. The area can again be divided into northern Summit County, which has 538,000 residents and includes the city of Akron and suburbs, and southern Stark County, which includes Canton and Massillon, which has 374,000 residents.
All cities have traditionally been industrial cities with a declining population. Akron’s population has been declining for years, from a peak of 290,000 in 1960 to 189,000 in 2021. Summit County as a whole is also shrinking, but significantly less than the city of Akron itself. The city of Canton is also shrinking fast, from 117,000 inhabitants in 1950 to 70,000 inhabitants in 2021. Massillon, however, has a stable population. Southern Stark County has a fluctuating population but is not shrinking as markedly as Summit County.
The centers of Akron and Canton are approximately 21 miles apart. Canton and Massillon are 12 kilometers apart. Both urban regions have grown together, there is no countryside between Akron and Canton. There are clearly more rural areas between Akron and Cleveland than between Akron and Canton. The area has a few lakes and a relatively large amount of forest. The landscape is slightly sloping.
The region has a dense highway network that was originally designed for a larger population. The main highway is Interstate 77, the north-south axis connecting Canton to Akron and Cleveland. Interstate 76 is an east-west route through Akron and is part double-numbered with I-77. Short Interstate 277 runs south from Akron. What I-76 is to Akron, US 30 is to Canton, an east-west highway. Alternative State Route 8 runs between Akron and Cleveland. State Route 59 also runs around downtown Akron.
I-77 in Akron.
What is special is that there has never been a US Highway directly between Akron and Cleveland. US 21 passed well west of Akron on its route from Massillon to Cleveland. It is unusual in the United States for two major cities not to be connected by a US Highway, especially before World War II, US Highways almost always ran from city center to city center, but US 21 passed more than 15 kilometers west of Akron. US 224 also passed through the south of the city, meaning that the center of Akron has never been served by a US Highway.
Most of the region’s highway network was built in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1970, I-277 opened in Akron. The region’s newest highway is part of State Route 8, which opened in 1988 north of Cuyahoga Falls. In the 1990s, Akron widened and modernized I-76/I-77.
There are relatively few traffic jams in the region. The center of Akron is very easily accessible and other parts of the urban area can often be reached without traffic jams. The road network is designed for a larger population, which means that use is less than was assumed in the 1960s.