Detroit’s Population Shift: First Increase in White Population Since 1950

Detroit is often recognized by its noticeable population loss over the past few decades (a 97% decrease in residents from 1950-2010), which arguably drove the city into a downward economic spiral. This was first spurred by an unprecedented amount of “White Flight” in the 1950’s and followed by what many have termed “Black Flight” in the decades following.
However, Census data released last Wednesday (9/23/15) shows Detroit’s White population has increased by 8,000 in the past year. This is the first growth in the white population since the 1950’s (when Detroit’s white population sat at 1.5 million) and helps quantify what many believe to be the “revitalization” of the city.
Although noteworthy, the situation is still bleak. According to the Detroit News, the population in 2014 was 680,281, a decline of 8,459 residents from the year before. Between 2012 and 2013, there was a loss of 12,784 residents. This decline is mostly seen among Hispanic and African American residents who are still moving to the suburbs in great numbers. Nonetheless, demographer William Frey points out this may be a trend in most major U.S. cities, not just Detroit.

Written by Michelle Rubin


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