Detroit's population fell by 2,946 last year, despite years of programs, policy and pep talks aimed at finally reversing the outflow. Census figures released this week put the city's final figure at 670,031.
Although the declines have slowed in recent years, Detroit lost more residents since 2010 than any other big city in the nation, nearly 44,000, census data shows. Detroit dropped one spot to the nation's 24th largest city, behind Nashville, in the latest population estimates.
However, the city also has a very low compliance rate with the ongoing U.S. Census, just 46 percent, among the lowest in the country. And so:
"You really do have to take it with a grain of salt," said Kurt Metzger, a demographer and director emeritus of Data Driven Detroit and mayor of Pleasant Ridge. "This is a clarion call for the 2020 Census. It's absolutely critical."
Mayor Mike Duggan has made growing the city's population -- or at least stopping the slide -- a critical benchmark to gauge his success. He's not conceding yet, however.
“These numbers are the last of the estimates based off of the census conducted a decade ago," said Duggan spokesman John Roach in a statement Wednesday. "It just reinforces how important it is for us to make sure every Detroiter is counted in 2020.”
Census figures are used to determine federal aid to states and cities, among other things. Kerry Ebersole Singh, executive director Michigan 2020 Census, said nearly $30 billion in federal aid comes to the state, based on those numbers.
"For us to get the resources we deserve, we need to make sure everyone is counted," she said.