“Chicago Population Sinks to 1920 Level” — unexpectedly! — the Wall Street Journal reports:
A larger-than-expected exodus over the past 10 years reduced the population of Chicago to a level not seen in nearly a century.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday that during the decade ended in 2010, Chicago’s population fell 6.9% to 2,695,598 people, fewer than the 2.7 million reported back in 1920.
After peaking at 3.62 million people in 1950, Chicago underwent a half century of decline that ended only when the 1990s boom years produced a small gain in the 2000 count. At that time, the city loudly celebrated its comeback.
But the recent recession accelerated a migration both to the metropolitan area’s farthest suburbs and to the Southern U.S. Chicago nonetheless is expected to remain the nation’s third-largest city, behind New York and Los Angeles and just ahead of Houston, for which final census numbers aren’t in yet.
The exodus took a big chunk out of the city’s black population in particular, shrinking it to 887,608 from 1,065,009, according to William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington.
“The black decline is really powering the city loss,” Mr. Frey said, calling it “part of the great reverse migration to the South.”
Chicago’s far from the only Big Blue Bastion to experience what the True/Slant Website described last year as “the ‘Grapes of Wrath’ in reverse” — when they spotted Californians migrating eastward, as this San Diego Union-Tribune cartoon humorously illustrated: