Detroit’s population continues to nosedive, about to fall below 700,000 people

Downtown DetroitDetroit was a bustling city in the 1950s with 1.9 million people.

But the flight of middle-class African Americans to the suburbs continues to fuel an exodus that left the city with just above 700,000 people last year, according to Census data released today.

It’s the city’s lowest population level since the 1910 census when the automobile industry took root.

The figures show Detroit’s population dropped .7%, or 4,726 residents, between 2011 and 2012, bringing it to a total of 701,475. Most major U.S. cities spiked in population during that period.

Demographer Kurt Metzger said he expects the city’s population to fall to as low as 600,000 before Detroit stabilizes.

But the Michigan Council of Governments believes the city’s population will continue to fall until 2030.

Detroit’s population dropped a record 25% from 2000 to 2010.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.