This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Is Detroit Disappearing?

The census data for the state of Michigan were released yesterday, and the population decline in Detroit was clearly the biggest headline produced by those data. The New York Times noted that:
Detroit’s population had plunged by 25 percent over the last decade. It was dramatic testimony to the crumbling industrial base of the Midwest, black flight to the suburbs and the tenuous future of what was once a thriving metropolis.
It was the largest percentage drop in history for any American city with more than 100,000 residents, apart from the unique situation of New Orleans, where the population dropped by 29 percent after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said Andrew A. Beveridge, a sociologist at Queens College.
William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC., but still affiliated with the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan, noted that Detroit has probably dropped to 18th on the list of US cities, behind Austin TX and Charlotte NC. 
Nearly a century ago, the expansion of the auto industry fueled a growth spurt that made Detroit the fourth-largest city in the country by 1920, a place it held until 1950, when the population peaked at almost two million. By 2000, Detroit had fallen to 10th place.
Michigan is the only state to have lost population in the decade between 2000 and 2010.

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