GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Grand Rapids population is believed to have reached an all-time high in summer 2018.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates a population of 200,217 in the city as of July 1, 2018, according to data released Thursday, May 23. The jump would be a 6.5 percent increase since April 2010, when the Census last measured the citys population.
The Grand Rapids metro area is leading Michigans growth as the state is poised to return to the 10 million population mark for the first time since 2008, on the eve of the Great Recession, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
Kent County ranked No. 1 in the state in population gains between 2017 and 2018, with an estimated increase of about 4,555 residents to 653,786.
While national estimates suggest Grand Rapids population has already surpassed the 200,000 mark, city officials are ramping up education efforts to ensure that as many residents as possible are counted during the 2020 U.S. Census count.
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss has called it absolutely critical that everyone in the city be counted in the next census to ensure sufficient political representation and financial benefits.
The population tally plays a key role in the allocation of state and federal funds, as well as the allocation of congressional seats and the Electoral College votes each state receives.
In Grand Rapids, the Fiscal Year 2020 budget includes an allocation of $100,000 for Census 2020 efforts. The allocation is broken down into $80,000 for temporary staffing and $20,000 for non-staffing needs, associated with the complete count campaign.
Bliss said the goal is a population count greater than 200,000, which is where officials believe the community to be.
The citys population surpassed 100,000 during the 1910 Census count, and has increased during seven of the last 10 decades since then. The last decline was from 2000 to 2010, when the population dropped from 197,800 to 188,040 — a decade that saw the most significant economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Census day is April 1, 2020. Area offices are expected to open in January 2019, and canvassing efforts are slated for August 2019.
For the first time, the 2020 Census questionnaire will be available to be filled out online, as well as the paper and in-person options of the past.
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said the Complete Count Committee is mobilizing the community to ensure a complete and accurate 2020 U.S. Census count.
Alabamas list of largest cities is due for another shakeup. In 2016, Huntsville passed Mobile to become the states third-largest city. Next year the Rocket City will likely pass Montgomery to become the second-largest.
If population trends hold true over the next few years, it wont be long until Huntsville stands at the top of the list.
The U.S. Census Bureau released new city population estimates Thursday. According to the estimates, Birmingham, the largest city in the state, is losing population. The Magic Citys population has been mostly stagnant – no growth or major loss – since 2010. But for the first time in nearly 100 years, its population is now below 210,000.
And Montgomery continues to steadily lose people. The states capital started the decade with a healthy 15,000 population lead over Huntsville. Now that lead has dwindled to fewer than 1,000 people.
Huntsville, meanwhile, has been adding population at a substantial rate since the start of the decade. In those eight years the city has added more than 17,000 people. If those trends continue at their current pace, Huntsville could pass Birmingham in population in just six years.
Huntsville was one of only three Alabama cities to grow its population by 10,000 people or more since 2010. The other two are notably college towns. Auburn added around 12,300 people and Tuscaloosa added around 10,600 people since 2010.
Auburns growth is impressive. The city is also in the top 10 in terms of percentage growth in the state. Among Alabama cities with at least 10,000 people, only five grew at a faster rate than Auburn. Three of those are in Baldwin County, which continues to grow like a weed.
Tuscaloosas growth has been a bit slower than Auburns, but it remains a significantly larger city. According to the estimates, Tuscaloosa passed the 100,000 population mark in 2017, and had 101,113 people in 2018. Auburn sat at 65,738 people in 2018.
Montgomery isnt the only large city thats shrinking. Mobile has lost more than 5,000 people since 2010. Birmingham, Anniston and Gadsden have all lost significant population, as have Decatur, Eufaula and Prichard.
But perhaps the most alarming population loss has come from Selma, a historic civil rights town that AL.com reported last year was the fastest shrinking city in the state. Thats still true, according to the new estimates.
Selma has lost nearly 14 percent of its population since 2010, the worst rate in the state over that span, according to the Census. Its the only city in the state to lose more than 10 percent of its population over that time.
That decline isnt slowing down. The city lost 2.7 percent of its population in just a year, between 2017 and 2018. The next closest was Eufaula, a city in southeast Alabama along the Georgia line.
These population trends are mostly consistent over the past decade. Most cities that are growing continue to grow, and vice versa, but there are a couple of exceptions that are worth keeping an eye on in the future.
For instance, Homewood, a Birmingham suburb, has been growing slightly since 2010, but actually lost population between 2017 and 2018. That may be a case of the city reaching a population limit of sorts. Its hemmed in on all sides by other municipalities, so theres not much space to grow.
Troy and Saraland both added over 1,000 people between 2010 and 2018, but both lost people between 2017 and 2018.
The reverse isnt true anywhere in the state – there wasnt a single city with more than 10,000 people that lost population since 2010 but gained it from 2017 to 2018.
Do you have an idea for a data story about Alabama? Email Ramsey Archibald at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyArchibald. For more videos and stories like this, follow Reckon by AL.com on Facebook and Twitter.