Tuesday, August 15, 2006

did they leave or did they die?

Today's morbid post develops from an article in today's Plain Dealer about how Cleveland's population is sliding below 400,000 for the first time in a hundred years.

The article goes on to say that "White residents left [Cleveland] in greater numbers, but black residents also moved out" and that Cleveland's population is growing older and poorer in addition to getting smaller.

But are people moving out or dying out?

I calculated a few additional stats for cities around Ohio from the American Community Survey Data. These values are presented in the following manner:

city name:
% of population over 55 - % over 65 - % over 75 - % over 85

16.8% - 8.7% - 4.1% - 1.0%
20.2% - 11.1% - 5.5% - 1.5%
20.3% - 11.3% - 6.3% - 1.3%
22.0% - 12.1% - 6.3% - 1.3%
26.9% - 16.5% - 9.2% - 1.8%
27.6% - 17.7% - 10.3% - 2.5%
Mahoning County:
28.4% - 16.6% - 9.1% - 2.2%

Most of these communities are indeed getting older and the truth is, in 25 years many of their citizens in the age brackets above will be dead.

And unless the population will be replaced, these cities and regions will have an excess of housing, infrastructure, and government that will need to be adressed.

Aging populations may also be tied into the sustainability of the local workforce. A story in today's Youngstown Vindicator describes the effort to downsize the number of hourly workers at the Delphi plant in Trumbull County. The original plan was to shrink the workforce from 3,800 workers to a bit over 1,000. But 3,400 hourly works took the buyout, and now union leaders are concerned if they can run the facility with only 400 workers. Is the acceptability of the buyout related to the age of the workforce?

I'm not sure of the answer . . .

But is now the time to discuss regional or state-wide land use planning and housing policies to address population loss and unsustainable sprawl?

1 comment:

Mike Prelee said...

As these communities shirnk city governments struggle to provide services and maintenance. Maybe the cities should look at giving portions of their land to the outlying suburbs that are more prosperous. People like living in townships because there are no income taxes and businesses are more likely to grow there. Real estate investors are probably more likely to invest in townships as opposed to cities as well.

I know it sounds ridiculous to suggest a city decrease it's geographic area but why pave, plow and clean all those streets if only one house or two on a block is occupied?