Downsized older cities are the norm, not the exception

If someone wanted proof that older big US cities are shrinking, the Census Bureau provided it recently with the release of 2006 city population figures. Although the nation's population has nearly doubled since 1950, the size of all but four of its 20 largest cities has declined during this period – in many cases significantly. New Orleans, of course, has been thrust into an immense struggle to retain residents following hurricane Katrina, so that is a special case. But elsewhere, the outmigration has been nearly as pronounced over longer periods of time, as urban dwellers have taken to the suburbs or sought out warmer climates and better job opportunities by heading south or west. The only Top 20 big cities to grow since 1950 were Houston (+260 percent), Los Angeles (+95), Seattle (+25), and New York (+4). Those losing the largest percentage of residents were:

  • 1. New Orleans -61%
  • 2. St. Louis -59%
  • 3. Pittsburgh -54%
  • 4. Detroit -53%
  • 5. Buffalo -52%
  • 6. Cleveland -51%
  • 7. Baltimore (tie) Cincinnati -34%
  • 9. Philadelphia -30%
  • 10. Minneapolis -29%

Associated Press

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