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Shrinking Cities!

steveanne

Member
Messages
176
Points
7
The U.S. Census posted the results for percent population change (2001-2002) on Thursday and the winner for fastest shrinking city..... San Francisco!

http://eire.census.gov/popest/data/cities/tables/SUB-EST2002-02.php


Rounding out the bottom 10:

1. San Francisco (-1.5%)
2. Sunnyvale, CA (-1.4%)
3. Flint, MI (-1.4%)
4. St. Louis, MO (-1.3%)
5. Cincinnati, OH (-1.2%)
6. Detroit, MI (-1.2%)
7. Daly City, CA (-1.1%)
8. Mobile, AL (-1.1%)
9. Baltimore, MD (-1.0%)
10. Minneapolis, MN (-1.0%)

Other cities losing population between 2001 and 2002 include New Orleans, Cleveland, St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Dayton, Toldeo, Erie, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Des Moines, Oakland, Boston, Grand Rapids, Rochester, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Syracuse, Chicago, Columbus, Richmond, Tulsa, Nashville, Indianapolis, and Salt Lake City.

Among the bigger cities gaining population:
Peoria, Raleigh, Bakersfield,Sacramento, Overland Park, Fresno, Arlington, Mesa, Albuquerque, Tampa, San Antonio, Pasadena, and Las Vegas.
 
Last edited:

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
I posted a message to skyscrapercity about this yesterday, here's the text:

The Chicago estimate is inaccurate, and has traditionally been so. For instance, the Bureau's estimate for 2000 prior to the 2000 census was that the population of Chicago would have gained 18,000 people since the 1990 census. In fact it gained 135,000 people in that time, seven and a half times the estimate!

From my own experience, there's nothing to suggest that the population boom has abated. There are still thousands of new development and conversion projects occuring in the city that are creating more housing.

The problem is, I think, the way the Census Bureau creates the estimate. According to their methodology document, they look at building permits and then determine which ones are to result in new housing. I suspect that they don't realize that a lot of "new" housing in Chicago is being created in old buildings. In fact, I'd suspect that most of new housing in Chicago is in old buildings.

For example, when I moved into my current apartment (about a year ago) there was a vacant, boarded up apartment building next door. They started gutting it right after I moved in and now it's in final stages of conversion into six condos. It's likely that the Census didn't recognize that as the creation of new housing because it already was a building that theoretically contained housing units (just ones that nobody was living in). There are also old industrial and office buildings being converted into lofts, and apartment buildings in trendy neighborhoods being subdivided into more flats. I suspect that none, or very little of that, is being seen as creation of more housing by the Census Bureau.

In addition, they claim that they consider "Older units", which they classify as being built prior to 1939, as having a high risk for abandonment. The trouble is that the majority of the buildings in chicago were built before 1939. I'd estimate that at least 80% of the current housing stock is at least that old. People aren't abandoning those buildings, in fact they're moving into them. Chicago is an old city with a lot of old buildings that aren't going anywhere, I don't think the Census Bureau realizes that.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,551
Points
24
I don't see anything wrong with the Census Bureau's estimate, for Chicago or anywhere else.

I'm as big a Windy City booster as anybody, but I think it's entirely reasonable to assume a slight decrease in population since 2000. Population growth in Chicago was spurred by an unforeseen boost in immigration in neighborhoods in the '90s, and not the construction boom we see downtown and on the lakefront. Chicago grew because Pilsen, Little Village, Humboldt Park and places like it exploded in population.

Meanwhile, much of the south and west sides continue to lose a lot of people, offsetting the growth of the immigrating residents to the northwest and southwest sides. Population loss is happening in neighborhoods that aren't necessarily visible to most observers.

Lastly, any rehab of old buildings that files for permits will be counted toward the increase in housing units. And the Census says that 38.0% of Chicago's housing units were in structures built before 1939, far short of that 80% mark you cite.
 

Howard Roark

Cyburbian
Messages
276
Points
10
The Census info on method states that it counts building permits. A city issues a permit for rehab, as well as new construction. The only thing that could effect the outcome of the census is whether the permits count number of units in multi-family construction, which could be the case. I have only worked on 2 multi-family projects and we stated the number of units in the code info on both, but I have no idea if that got translated into the permit.

The real danger is in estimating the amount of abandon properties, the methodology offers new clue how this is done. Poperty taxes could be an indicator, but I would not trust that.

As for the estimates, they carry little weight w/ me St. Louis city was estimated to have lost 18% of its population in 1999, the 2000 census showed it to have lost 12%. Not good, but better than what the "experts" told us
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Are we assuming that the population declines are due to people abandoning housing units? Or might they reflect changing demographics. In the old neighborhoods, aging residents and smaller families will result in a lower average household size. Who is moving into the new lakefront condos? You might get the same answer if you asked who can afford them. Empty-nesters returning to the city. New housing due to infill and redevelopment are not enough to overcome the effects of an ever-shrinking household size.
 

steveanne

Member
Messages
176
Points
7
Chicago

I hate seeing it this way, but...

Chicago -8330 people
Gary -793 people
Milwaukee -2198 people

Joliet +6357 people
Aurora +6411 people
Naperville +2959 people
Rockford +898 people
Madison, WI +3763 people


If this study had all areas and not just cities over 100,000 people, I'm sure you'd see the likes of Gurnee, IL and Kenosha, WI on the list of booming populations. Housing is expensive in the city and cheap in the suburbs. More and more amentities are making their way to the suburbs. I think they have a word for this.... Hmmmmmmmm........

It's happening everywhere. Rochester, NY, for example, shows a decline in population, but the county is gaining population. The metro area is also growing (slowly). So, Rochester is going through a major downtown redevelopment to bring its citizens back to the city. A brand new $55 million underground bus station, a large performing arts center, a brand new entertainment district brought to you by the Cordish folks, a new stadium for their A-League soccer team (with hopes of becoming an MLS franchise within the next few years), new nightlife, new downtown condos, townhouses, and loft apartments, and much more are in their planning stages or currently under construction.
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
They all moved to 'The town next door ™' :p

Does the census only mesure the migration out of the city or in cases of the metropolis (that's including suburbs). If it's not, it's just suburbanization....

Just MHO. :)
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,551
Points
24
Michael Stumpf said:
New housing due to infill and redevelopment are not enough to overcome the effects of an ever-shrinking household size.
Bingo. And most new infill housing in downtown or near downtown areas is not enough to overcome the loss in outlying neighborhoods.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
SF Population Crash

San Francisco is losing population because of the Great DotCom Depression. Most of the Trixies and Chads thought they would make a mint at www.kittylitter.com and www.uselessinternetportal.net. That's all gone now: Downtown CBD office vacancy rates are over 25%, with no net absorption in sight. The heart of the dot com boom (SOMA and Portrero Hill are ghost towns, with office vacancy rates of 45%.

No jobs, no ability to pay for that $1300/month one bedroom apartment with no deeded parking.

Pretty scary here, actually. Although, my outermost suburban employer has not been directly impacted by the crash.

Of course, the screaming meemees living in their own wastes on Sixth Street CAN'T and WON'T move on, so its only the young, the mobile, the affluent, and the lucky that are abandoning the Bay Area.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
i'll have to disagree with the census figures as well.

They had Philly losing another 100,000 people between 1990 and 2000 and it turned out to be more like 12,000. I actually think that most of that population loss occured between 1990 and 1995 and that the tide turned in the latter half of the decade and now we're seeing population growth.

Property values are on the rise all over the city, even in the bad neighborhoods. With interest rates as low as they are there's a rehab frenzy going on and rents are falling because a lot of renters are buying their first place yet the vacancy rate for center city is still less than 4%.

I think what's at issue here is the size of the households. The Center City District is predicting that 80% of their population growth in the next 10 years is going to be in one and two person households.

So to someone (like me) on the street in some place like Chicago, SF, or Philly it's an obvious boom time with young couples taking on tough rehabs and new condos filling up with empty nesters. (Or more to my neighborhood watching a Vietnamese families completely gut a 2000 sq. ft. rowhome in a weekend, tear off the stucco, and put a fresh layer of brick up to the 3rd floor windows - amazing)

but to some statistician at the census bureau it could look like a lonely town that's emptying out with visions of newspaper (the urban tumbleweed) blowing down the street.

but even with a shrinking household size, we have such a vast inventory of vacant and abandoned buildings that there's still a lot of room for the numbers to come up.

So sure we might not see 2.2 million people back in the city anytime soon but that doesn't mean we couldn't get back to build-out. We'll see what happens in 5 years when the oil-shocks start.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
So sure we might not see 2.2 million people back in the city anytime soon but that doesn't mean we couldn't get back to build-out. We'll see what happens in 5 years when the oil-shocks start.

Been reading Kunstler, jresta?
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
kunstler - haha - he's an ok guy.

but really, it's only the USGS that's saying, "you have nothing to worry about - the oil will not run out."

even if oil wasn't going to be an issue in the near future just from what i see and the people i talk to [that could care less about planning] it seems more and more that people are accepting the fact that post-war suburbs are crap because wasting your spare time in front of the TV, spending hours a day in the car, and getting fat as a result are crap.

Even if they like them it doesn't really matter. I had a long conversation with a friend of mine on a ride up to New Brunswick, NJ. He works in construction for a general contractor and they mostly do rehabs. They do them entirely in the suburbs. They do full rehabs on houses that are less than 40 years old.

to quote him as best i can:

"90% of the houses out there are built like absolute s*** and it seems like the younger the house the poorer the quality . . . In 20 years Marlton is gonna be one big ghetto . . . Some of those houses aren't even 10 years old and they're falling apart already and the owners have such big mortgages that they can't afford to get the repairs done right."

He went on saying more or less that the whole thing is just going to collapse. Too many of these places were built, and built-out, in a very short period of time so that they are all reaching maturity around the same time and it's impossible to deal with all of it at once so what you wind up with is fruit rotting on the vine, so to speak, because you don't have the resources to harvest it all. The build-out conditions make new construction impossible . . . and well, being that we're talking about NJ and we're 10 years away from total build-out people will have no choice but to move closer in. We both agreed that people were already making the move.

Anyway, i think the point that people miss and maybe kunstler misses it too is that people always connect the cost of fuel or its scarcity with its impact on driving. This should be the least of our concerns. Hydrogen fuel cells for cars? Who cares? How are we going to power our ocean-going vessels? Our trains? Our tractor trailers? What's the point of being able to drive to the supermarket if there's nothing on the shelf?

The cost of goods and food in particular will jump significantly and that's what's going to hit the economy hard.

People also forget that this bumper crop of food appeared when the oil companies figured out how to turn petroleum into calories. Yeah, all these fertilizers and pesticides that make agri-business possible in the first place are going to get much harder to come by, let's not forget the gas guzzling farm equipment.

All the plastic packaging that makes shipping food such long distances possible and rubber tires, this keyboard, your shampoo, toothbrush, soap, food additives, ditto.

So what - are we going to start digging up our landfills and start recycling all that plastic that should've made it into the blue bucket 10 years ago?

[way to stray off topic resta]

so, household size is shrinking everywhere. The options are density or sprawl. The places that choose, and actually have the room to accomodate sprawl will see their population grow rapidly. Cities are already dense so their populations will level off or wind up somewhere between their post-war highs and present day lows . . . unless of course . . . the oil monster strikes.
 

Nero

Member
Messages
246
Points
10
The race to see who can gain the most population is... well... dopey! It should be about the quality of life, ... so what if you have less or more noses to count... but if the housing is better and the community is better and it is a great place to live, equallity, etc... these are the things we aught to be concerned about. It is OK if a community losses population .. if its a great place to be.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
I would agree with P. U.

Is rapid population growth really a good thing? Can the North American continent support, say, 350 million people living our customary lifestyle?

Its interesting that the small businesses and nonprofit arts groups that were so quickly jettisoned by their profiteering landlords during the last boom are now being courted by those same landlords. The wonders of the markets.
 

Super Amputee Cat

Cyburbian
Messages
2,119
Points
28
Talk about a city that has lost population:

Buffalo, New York

Population 1950: 580,100
Population 1960: 532,800
Population 1970: 462,800
Population 1980: 357,900
Population 1990: 328,100
Population 2000: 292,600
Population 2002: 287,700 (est)

Buffalo has lost almost half it's population in the past half-century.

Now compare this to Mesa, Arizona:

Population 1950: 16,800
Population 1960: 33,800
Population 1970: 62,900
Population 1980: 152,400
Population 1990: 289,200
Population 2000: 396,400
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Is Mesa really a "City" or just a collection of soundwalled arterials, faux-Spanish tracts, and trailer parks, all baking in 110 degrees. That's not a city. Sorry, Arizonans.
 
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