Detroit Census Confirms Unprecedented Desertion

Detroit's population plunged by 25% over the last decade, according to census figures - the largest decline of any major city in American history.
March 23, 2011, 2pm PDT | Rebecca Sanborn Stone
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"Laying bare the country's most startling example of modern urban collapse, census data on Tuesday showed that Detroit's population had plunged by 25 percent over the last decade," writes Katharine Q. Seelye.

With the exception of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, this represents the largest percentage decline of any major U.S. city in history. 237,500 people left the city since 2000; Detroit was once the 4th largest city in the U.S., but these latest figures may drop it to 18th place and make Michigan the only state to lose population since 2000.

Reasons for the loss include the decline of the auto and industrial-based economy as well as a major exodus of black residents to the suburbs.

Still, the numbers are not yet final and city officials plan to challenge the census results, believing they may not be counting tens of thousands of residents.

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Published on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 in New York Times
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