NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Downtown Populations Grow

May 7, 2001

While U.S. cities overall are losing people, their downtown districts are gaining population, according to an analysis of 2000 census data by the Fannie Mae Foundation and the Brookings Institution.

  • The analysis of population trends in 24 cities in the 1990s shows that downtowns grew in all but six of them.
  • Although the overall share of whites dropped from 57 percent to 55 percent in downtowns, their actual numbers grew.
  • There are now 7.5 percent more non-Hispanic whites living in the 24 downtowns combined than there were in 1990.
  • Houston's downtown led the nation's downtown population trend with a 69 percent increase in the 1990s.

Seattle's grew almost as fast, at 67 percent. The two cities were followed by Chicago, Denver, Portland, Cleveland, Atlanta, Norfold, Memphis and San Diego.

Source: Haya El Nasser, "U.S. Cities Buck Trend With Boom Downtown," USA Today, May 7, 2001.

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