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Census: Cleveland Loses More Population than Any Other City

Map showing 2009 population increases and decreases in Ohio. (Mark Salling / CSU)
Map showing 2009 population increases and decreases in Ohio. (Mark Salling / CSU)

Here’s the bad news. Cleveland lost more people than any other city in the nation last year. That’s according to new census estimates. From 2008 to 2009, the city of Cleveland shrank by over 2600 people. Detroit, which has over twice the population, said goodbye to about 1700.

But Mark Salling, who analyzes census data at Cleveland State University, actually sees some silver linings in the new data. Even though Cleveland lost more than half a percent of its population in one year, that is actually a slower rate of decline than in past years.

SALLING: “We’ve been really in bad shape since 2000, and really well before that, and the story has always been Cleveland continues to lose huge numbers of population and yes we lost a lot of population this last year, but it’s a lot less than we had been. That’s good news.”

Salling says this estimated data bodes well for the official 2010 Census numbers that will be released next year. He doesn’t expect those numbers to be as dire as some predict.

As for last year’s decline, the Census data doesn’t provide insight on whether the exodus was to nearby suburbs or far away cities like Phoenix, Arizona. Salling says the nationwide recession suggests many may have stayed in the region, as there are few jobs anywhere.

SALLING: “Many of these people are probably moving to inner ring suburbs in particular.”

That’s because developers haven’t built much in the farther flung suburbs during the downturn. That too is good news for the core city.