The U.S. Census Bureau yesterday released new estimates showing that Chicago's population declined slightly last year. The deeper numbers are more troubling:
According to Alden Loury, director of research and evaluation at the Metropolitan Planning Council, while the degree of black flight from the city has slowed some this decade, it's still averaging about 12,000 a year, based on data from the American Community Survey, also issued by the Census Bureau. Blacks leaving Cook County tended to move either to northwest Indiana or farther out in the metro area, or to Atlanta, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Dallas-Fort Worth, Indianapolis or Milwaukee, in that order of popularity of destinations.
The same data show the population of whites, Latinos and people of Asian heritage growing, he said.
Loury's conclusion: "The numbers show Chicago has an issue. . . .Areas around the Loop and the central area are doing well, but overall, the city as a whole is not doing well."
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner blame each other for the declines.
Citylab, analyzing a Times Op-Ed by Jed Kolko, adds color:
A more finely grained geographic analysis shows that the closer you get to the city center in most metros, the stronger has been the performance. While it’s true that the more outlying parts of some cities are losing population, their cores are becoming increasingly vibrant. As we’ve noted, that notion of critical mass at the neighborhood level is one of the defining characteristics of urban growth.
[And] there’s a baseline issue here. City growth has decelerated from the past year or two. But city growth this decade looks far different than it did a decade ago. While Kolko’s FiveThirtyEight.com post just shows the change in city and suburb growth rates over the past few years (and emphasizes the one-year change between 2015 and 2016), his longer blog post on his own website shows the change in population by type of county since 2001. Taking this longer view, it’s apparent that growth rates in suburbs have declined sharply since the last decade, while growth rates in urban counties were up.
We're still not candidates for The Atlantic's latest (really cool) photo collection of "A World Without People," thankfully.