U.S. cities experienced unprecedented fall in population in 2020-2021

U.S. cities experienced unprecedented fall in population in 2020-2021
Homeless in San Francisco: The city has a huge homeless population (Image: KPIX video screen grab)

In 2020-2021, there was a rapid decline in the population of major urban areas such as San Francisco and Manhattan — an unprecedentedly rapid decline. Usually, cities don’t lose more than 1% of their population in a single year. But Manhattan lost 6.6% of its population from July 2020 to July 2021, while San Francisco lost 6.3% of its people.

Detroit was the most rapidly shrinking major U.S. city between 2000 and 2020, and even it shrank by more than 1% annually in only about half the years between 2000 and 2020. But in 2020-2021, a great many cities lost more people than that. Prosperous cities like Washington, DC, Boston, and Alexandria lost 3% of their people in a single year.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

From July 2020 to July 2021, San Francisco’s population decreased by an estimated 6.3%, losing nearly 55,000 people in that time frame. San Mateo County was fourth, with its population decreasing 3.2% and a loss of nearly 25,000 people.

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Domestic out-migration, or the movement of people out of the counties and elsewhere in the U.S., drove population loss from all the fastest-shrinking counties. Domestic out-migration from San Francisco was more than 10 times larger from July 2020 to July 2021 than over the previous year, and nearly nine times higher in San Mateo County.

LU Staff

LU Staff

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