Detroit officials are challenging the conclusion of the most recent census, which indicated the city lost 25 percent of its population in the last decade, an exodus that could cost the city federal funding.
According to census figures released March 22, Detroit’s population fell by nearly 240,000 people, from 951,270 to 713,777 while the state’s overall, Michigan’s population declined by only 55,000 during the census conducted in 2010.
Mayor Dave Bing said the city is in too dire need to lose out on any resources.
“I don’t believe it will stand up,” Bing told CNN. “We are in a fiscal crisis and we have to fight for every dollar.”
The city is not only worried about federal funding, but also about redrawing of political boundaries. With most of the city’s Black residents fleeing Detroit for the suburbs, the city hopes that the redrawn maps will include those suburbs in Detroit’s district. However, that won’t be easy, according to local experts.
“A lot of the minorities are leaving the urban centers and moving to the suburban ring, and Michigan is no exception in that regard,” Denise DeCook, a Republican strategist based in Lansing, Mich., told National Public Radio. “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know Detroit is going to have to go into the suburbs.”
Overall, the state has suffered a loss of political clout in Congress. From a high of 19 seats in the House of Representatives after the 1960 census, the state’s delegation to Washington is just 14 House seats now, before redistricting occurs.
The numbers present a harsh reality for a city and state that have been hit hard by the economic downturn. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) said it’s time for the state to change the way it does business.
“It is time for all of us to realign our expectations so that they reflect today’s realities. We cannot cling to the old ways of doing business,” Snyder said in a statement.
“We cannot successfully transition to the ‘New Michigan’ if young, talented workers leave our state,” he said. “By the same token, Michigan will not succeed if Detroit and other major cities don’t succeed.”
However, Detroit officials have vowed to fight to get the most accurate population numbers possible. Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh told CNN that if they accept the current census count, the city will get “less money from the state and clearly less money from the government.”
Michigan did see growth in one population area, as the state’s Hispanic population grew by 34.7 percent, which is consistent with national trends.