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U.S. Census Data Shows Cleveland's Population Shrinking

An image showing population changes based on the 2020 U.S. Census.
U.S. Census Bureau
The areas with large population growth, shown in dark green, were concentrated in the South and West during the past ten years.

Data released Thursday from the 2020 U.S. Census found Cleveland’s population shrank by 6 percent in the last 10 years.

As of April 2020, Cleveland’s population was 372,624, down from almost 397,000 in 2010. The census hasn’t released any graphics showing demographic, economic or racial statistics for the city from the 2020 census yet.

Nationwide, the census found the growth of cities is slowing and is concentrated in a few places like Phoenix and Houston.

Cuyahoga County’s population also shrank compared to 2010. Franklin County – home to Columbus – has overtaken it to become the most populous county in Ohio. Like the rest of the country, Cleveland and its surroundings are becoming less white and more diverse.

In Cuyahoga County, the white population dropped from 61 percent to 57 percent since 2010. In Ohio, the drop was from 81 percent white a decade ago to 76 percent.

The Census Bureau uses a “diffusion score” to measure the diversity of a region. It shows the percentage of a population that identifies as something other than the top three racial or ethnic groups. The higher the score, the more diverse the population.

In Cuyahoga County, white, Black and Hispanic are the top three categories. In 2020, Cuyahoga County had a diffusion score of nearly 8 percent. That’s up from 4.5 percent in 2010.

Nicholas Jones, director of Race and Ethnic Research and Outreach at the U.S. Census Bureau, said at a press conference Thursday that expanded race and ethnicity options in last year’s census questionnaire contributed to those changes.

“Our analysis of the 2020 census results show that the U.S. population is much more multiracial and much more racially diverse than what we measured in the past,” Jones said.

Copyright 2021 WCPN. To see more, visit WCPN.

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.