Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cool cities? People are fleeing them

The Ann Arbor News has an interesting story.The exodus from the cities are continuing with the latest census estimates. For all the talk about cool cities, and new urbanism, and Richard Florida's claptrap, the reality is that more and more people do not want to live in cities.

Even Ann Arbor, the posterchild for urbanism in this state, lost more population, albeit narrowly.

WASHINGTON - Like most major Michigan cities, Ann Arbor lost population during the first half of this decade to the townships and villages that make up its suburbs.

A U.S. Census Bureau report released today shows that two-thirds of Michigan's cities and villages lost population between 2000 and 2006. While no region was spared, the biggest declines came in the state's major cities - Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids and Lansing.

The beneficiaries of this population shift were the smaller cities, villages and townships that make up metropolitan areas. The shifting population pattern occurred in all of the state's major cities. Villages or smaller cities on the outskirts of Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Lansing all grew, while the central cities shrank between 2000 and 2006.

The excel file from the Detroit News. shows all of the numbers.

Livingston overall gained 1.7% over last year. It's a small gain compared to previous years, but it is still the fastest growing county in the state.

Wayne County took a big loss, and not just in Detroit. Just about everywhere in Wayne County dropped outside of Canton and the Southernmost part of Downriver. Even Plymouth dropped.

Oakland County was stagnant. Generally, there was growth west of I-275 and North of 59. The "trendy" areas there all dropped in population. Royal Oak, Ferndale, etc. Macomb County narrowly gained, mostly in the Northern part of the county.

As for the central cities:
Grand Rapids narrowly lost population. It's in better shape than most cities.
Saginaw, Flint, and Bay City all took nosedives.
Detroit and Warren lost big.
Lansing as well. East Lansing was more narrow.
Kalamazoo, Muskegon Battle Creek, Albion, and Jackson had narrower losses. West Michigan is in better shape than East Michigan.
Adrian stayed about the same.
Marquette and Sault Ste Marie stayed about the same, and is doing better than much of the UP. Mackinac County (St Ignace) has had a large exodus.

Instead of cool cities, I think we need to have a cool economy here. One with jobs, low taxes, and high freedom. Leave the fluff and superficial stuff to private citizens.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

The families in Royal Oak seem to yearn for the larger lot sizes. I live on a 40 foot lot with a nice big park behind my house, but after my 2nd kid came, I'm wishing for bigger space.

Each year the Royal Oak schools loose around 300 kids. That doesn't sound like much, but Royal Oak Schools used to have something like 20,000 students. Now they're down to about 5,000 and many of them are imported through school of choice to keep the seats filled...