Toledo lost the fifth-most residents last year among America's big cities, according to the 2011 U.S. Census estimates.
The city lost 1,170 people between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011, down to 286,038 residents from 287,208. Only St. Louis, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Detroit lost more people among cities with more than 50,000 residents during that time, according to the census.
Estimates for city populations were released today by Census Bureau; estimates for counties were released in April.
While Toledo’s total population loss ranked in the top five, it’s dropped in population by percentage did not rank as high. The city lost 0.4 percent of its population, which was tied for 18th in the country. Most of the top 20 communities in population loss by percentage were in Michigan or Ohio.
But unlike in the Rust Belt, the trend across the country was for cities to grow, and many with rates faster than their suburbs.
In fact, for the first time in a century, most of America’s largest cities are growing at a faster rate than their surrounding suburbs as young adults seeking a foothold in the weak job market shun home-buying and stay put in bustling urban centers.
Driving the resurgence are young adults, who are delaying careers, marriage and having children amid persistently high unemployment. Burdened with college debt or toiling in temporary, lower-wage positions, they are spurning homeownership in the suburbs for shorter-term, no-strings-attached apartment living, public transit and proximity to potential jobs in larger cities.
While economists tend to believe the city boom is temporary, that is not stopping many city planning agencies and apartment developers from seeking to boost their appeal to the sizable demographic of 18-to-29-year olds. They make up roughly 1 in 6 Americans, and some sociologists are calling them “generation rent.” The planners and developers are betting on young Americans’ continued interest in urban living, sensing that some longer-term changes such as decreased reliance on cars may be afoot.
The last time growth in big cities surpassed that in outlying areas occurred prior to 1920, before the rise of mass-produced automobiles spurred expansion beyond city cores.