Tags: Detroit | population | plunges | 1950s

Detroit's Population Plunges Back to Where It Was in 1850s

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By    |   Friday, 20 May 2016 06:47 AM

Detroit's population continued its decades-long plunge to where it was back in the 1850s, low enough to drop it from the country's 20 most populous cities, the Detroit News reported, citing U.S. Census Bureau figures released Thursday.

The city, whose heydays were tied to the American automobile industry, saw its population drop to 677,116 in the summer of 2015, a decline of 3,107 residents from 2014. The number is a shadow of the 1.8 million inhabiting the city in 1850, when it was 29 percent of Michigan's population, per the News.

"A lot of Detroiters really think of themselves as being in one of the country's biggest cities, and that's just not true anymore," Kevin Boyle, an author and history professor at Northwestern University, told the News. "It's just a fundamentally different place than it was a half century ago."

The drop pushed Detroit out of the top 20 largest cities for the first time since 1850, when it was the 21st place, according to the Detroit Free Press. Kurt Metzger, founder of the analytical firm Data Driven Detroit, told the newspaper the fall will continue.

"There's no way Detroit is going to jump back into the top 20," Metzger said. "They'd have to pass El Paso, Denver and Seattle. That's not going to happen. Those are all growth cities."

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, though, saw the numbers differently, pointing out the 0.5 percent population drop over the past year was the smallest drop in decades and recent positive population trends have yet to show up in Census bureau estimates, according to the Free Press.

"I'm very confident that the city of Detroit is growing now, and that will be reflected in the next report," Duggan said. "People aren't moving out at anywhere near the rate they were. They are choosing to stay. We're at a historic tipping point."

Detroit is still easily the biggest city in Michigan with its population topping the next four largest cities combined – Grand Rapids (195,097), Warren (135,358), Sterling Heights (132,052), and Ann Arbor (117,070) – according to U.S. Census figured compiled by the News.

The city still faces problems, including a school district that is more than $500 million in debt, despite being under state control for years and educators who were recently accused in a kickback scandal, the News reported.

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Detroit's population continued its decades-long plunge to where it was back in the 1850s, low enough to drop it from the country's 20 most populous cities.
Detroit, population, plunges, 1950s
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2016-47-20
Friday, 20 May 2016 06:47 AM
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