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Census Data: Detroit’s Population Fell 25 Percent

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DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit’s population suffered another big decline over the past decade.

That’s according to Census data released Tuesday,  that shows the city of Detroit lost 25 percent of it’s population in the last decade, falling to 713, 777.  The city’s population has not been that low since 1910. 

WWJ spoke with Bill Ballenger, President of Inside Michigan Politics who said these numbers could mean a change in congressional districting. 

Ballenger said it will mean a change in how much funding will come into to the city.

“It’s going to impact, negatively, the money that Michigan will get from the federal government. It’s going to impact, negatively, the way that things are set up — the money that Detroit is going to get from the State and the federal government,” he said.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said he will not accept the numbers being put forth by the Census.

“Every person that’s counted in the census brings approximately $10,000 to Detroit over the next decade for schools, roads, hospitals and social service programs like Medicaid,” Bing said.

Bing believes the number is closer to $750,000, citing numbers gathered from his Detroit Works inititive.

“If we could go out and identify another 40,000 people that were missed, that would bring things up over the threshold of $750,000 … we could make a difference in terms of what we can get from the federal government as well as the state government,” he said.

Where has the city seen the greatest population drop?

“It’s probably middle class African American, more than anything else.  I think our white population is probably growing a bit, from a percentage standpoint, but a lot of our middleclass African Americans have moved out of the city into the suburbs,” Bing said.

The Mayor said  the city will challenge the Census numbers, a process which could take years. 

Detroit’s population peaked at 1.8 million in 1950, when it ranked fifth nationally. But an exodus of many residents to the suburbs and the auto industry’s steady decline have taken their toll.

The data also showed Wayne County’s population fell almost 12 percent.  Macomb and Oakland County saw slight increases in population.

The Census Bureau says Flint no longer is one of the five largest cities in Michigan. Detroit remains No. 1, followed by Grand Rapids, Warren, Sterling Heights and Lansing. Results were released Tuesday.

Sterling Heights saw its population grow by 4 percent since 2000. The other cities in the Michigan top five all lost residents.

The census also shows Michigan’s Asian population grew faster than that of any other racial group since 2000. Even though the state as a whole lost population, the Asian/Pacific Island numbers grew 34.5 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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