2010 Census: Top Ten Population Losers

March 28, 2011 38 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Think things could be better in Jacksonville? Here are ten cities that have their own problems to worry about, according to the census bureau.

10. Pittsburgh city, PA: 305,704 (-28,859)

Not even having an urban core that ranks as the 6th in the country in job density and several super bowl wins can offset the tide of people leaving the Appalachia's largest city. Nevertheless, the -8.6% population decline of the last decade was its best census showing since 1950.

9. St. Louis city, MO: 319,294 (-28,895)

This city actually turned the corner, bottoming out and finally seeing population growth in the later half of the last decade.  Because of the major upturn in urban revitalization, St. Louis received the World Leadership Award for urban renewal in 2006.  Perhaps we should take some lessons from this community on turning around our own population declining pre-consolidated city, also known as the urban core.  

8. Baltimore city, MD: 620,961 (-30,193)

It can be argued that the Inner Harbor is one of the most vibrant urban districts in the country.  However, there is a lot of revitalization work to do only a few short blocks from the harbor.

7. Birmingham city, AL: 212,237 (-30,583)

Once known as the "Magic City", things haven't been the same since the Civil Rights Era, when the population peaked at 340,887.

6. Buffalo city, NY: 261,310 (-31,338)

Fueled to life with the opening of the Erie Canal, Buffalo's sad story tells us what can happen when technology renders your economic engine useless.  In 1950, the city was the 15th largest in the country, the largest inland port, second biggest rail center, sixth largest steel producer and eighth largest manufacturer.  Now the big news is about Mayor Byron W. Brown unveiling a $100 million, five-year plan to demolish 5,000 homes,after tearing down 2,000 since 2000.

5. Cincinnati city, OH: 296,943 (-34,342)

First, the Great Depression wipes out construction on this city's proposed subway system.  Then when it appears that streetcars and high speed rail are coming to town, Ohio elects John Kasich, potentially killing both projects and the economic development they would have provided.

4. Cleveland city, OH: 396,815 (-81,588)

This city's population has been shrinking since it peaked at 914,808 in 1950.  While downtown revitalization has been a success, the city faces significant challenges in stablizing inner city neighborhoods and delivering high-quality public education for its youth.

3. New Orleans city, LA: 343,829 (-140,845)

This city's population dropped from 452,170 in 2005 to 223,388 after being ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. 2010 census numbers indicate this city is in the midst of a rebirth.

2. Chicago city, IL: 2,695,598 (-200,418)

Easily the most suprising on the list.  As vibrant as the Loop is, there are inner city areas of the city that are rapidly emptying out.

1. Detroit city, MI: 713,777 (-237,493)

While population loss was expected, no one imagined the drop would be this big after the city hosted the super bowl in 2006.  Since 1950, due to white flight, black flight, and a change in its industrial jobs base, the population decline free fall now stands at 1,135,791.

Source: US. Census Bureau

Article by Ennis Davis