Detroit Sets National Record for Population Loss

Thursday, March 24, 2011
Detroit (photo: Elijah Wallechinsky)
What once was the fourth largest city in America has turned into the fastest shrinking city in U.S. history: Detroit, Michigan.
New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that Detroit lost 25% of its population last decade—the largest decline in history for any American city with more than 100,000 residents that wasn’t hit by a hurricane (New Orleans 2005). But even the Big Easy’s population drop (29%) was smaller than Detroit’s in terms of actual people who left, 140,000 vs. 237,500. Detroit lost about 300,000 between 1970 and 1980, but that represented only 20% of the population.
Detroit’s population as of 2010 was 713,777, the lowest since 1910, when it was 466,000. Motor City is now smaller than Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Jacksonville, Florida.
The collapse of the auto industry and the loss of other heavy manufacturing are largely blamed for Detroit’s population decline. Michigan is the only state that has lost population since 2000.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Detroit Census Confirms a Desertion Like No Other (by Katharine Seelye, New York Times)
Census 2010: Detroit Population Plummets to 713,777, Lowest Since 1910 (by John Wisely and Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press)


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