Population estimates released Thursday by the US Census Bureau revealed that eight of the 10 largest cities in the United States lost population in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between July 2020 and July 2021, New York lost more than 305,000 residents, or about 3.5% of its 2020 population.
Additionally, Chicago and Los Angeles contracted 45,000 and 40,000 respectively.
Notably, as March data showed the Dallas, Texas metro area had the largest population gain of any US metro area – adding more than 97,000 residents – Thursday’s Census Bureau estimates show that the city of Dallas lost nearly 15,000 residents.
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Also on the West Coast, Northern California’s hub San Francisco has seen the highest rate of decline. It lost around 6.3% of its population in 2020: nearly 55,000 inhabitants.
The second highest rate was in the city of Lake Charles, Louisiana, which was devastated by Hurricane Laura in 2020. It lost nearly 5% of its residents.
Declines of 3% to 3.5% also occurred in cities other than New York and San Francisco.
Only Arizona’s capital, Phoenix and San Antonio, Texas gained new residents between 2020 and 2021.
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Cities only added about 13,000 people each, or less than 1% of their population, according to Census Bureau data.
The Texas cities of Austin and Fort Worth, Jacksonville in Florida, Charlotte in North Carolina and Columbus in Ohio also saw modest population gains.
The fastest growing cities with populations of at least 50,000 were in Sunbelt suburbs, including Arizona, Texas, and Florida. They recorded growth rates of between 6.1% and 10.5%.
“While only 4% of all cities and towns had a population of 50,000 or more in 2021, they collectively had 129.3 million people, or nearly 39% of the U.S. population,” said Crystal Delbé, statistician in the Population Division of the Census Bureau. said in a statement. “On the other hand, of the 19,494 incorporated venues in the United States, more than 75% had fewer than 5,000 people.”
However, the reasons for these changes in estimates vary, and experts told The Associated Press they believe the coronavirus-related population decline has been “short-lived”.
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Changes are also driven by births, deaths, jobs and housing costs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.