Detroit lost 25% of its population – or 237,000 people – over the last decade, according to new U.S. Census data.It’s the largest percentage drop for any American city, the NYT reports, with the exception of New Orleans, which lost 29% of the pop. after Hurricane Katrina. The exodus was driven primarily by the collapse of the auto industry and the mass migration of middle-class African Americans to the suburbs.
Detroit’s official population is now 713,777, the lowest it has been since 1910. That’s down from a peak of 2 million in 1950, when Detroit was the nation’s fifth largest city.
Even demographers who track Detroit’s population were surprised by such a dramatic loss.
“I never thought it would go this low,” demographer Kurt Metzger told the NYT. “All of us are kind of shocked, but it means we have to work that much harder.”
Mayor David Bing plans to challenge the census findings, saying the city can qualify for more federal and state funding if it can get its population count to 775,000.
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