By now you probably have heard from us multiple times about the slow-growth trend in our demographic and socio-economic forecast. We are predicting a small increase of 110,000 (or 6%) households in 30 years from 2010 to 2040 in our region. By contrast, the region added 146,000 (or 9%) households in just 10 years from 1990 to 2000. What I would like to add to this comparison of the past and future is that we’ll experience not only slower growth, but also less decentralization (or “sprawl”). In the last 30 years, Detroit lost nearly a half million people. That will definitely not be repeated in the next 30 years. Detroit population will eventually stabilize, as we forecast (Figure 1). Meanwhile, growth in the suburbs has slowed down dramatically and will not return to the pre-“great-recession” level anytime soon.
Figure 1: Detroit Population History and Forecast
The maps below further illustrate the slow down of decentralization. The map on the left shows what happened in the last 20 years. This was the reality we faced. The City of Detroit was losing 5,231 households a year on average, which was more than 14 households per day. At the same time, Macomb Township led the gains, with 962 annually (2.6 per day). The map on right shows what we forecast for the next 30 years. Detroit’s loss of households will improve evenly, reducing from 5,231 to only 460 annually, on average. In other words, the rate of decline in the next 30 years is less than one-tenth of the rate in the last 20 years. At the same time, the growth rate of the suburban communities will be significantly slower.
Figure 2: Average Annual Household Change by Community (1990-2000)
Figure 3: Average Annual Household Change by Community (2010-2040)
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