Detroit is no longer the largest majority-Black city in the United States, according to the U.S. Census. That designation now belongs to Memphis, Tennessee—barely.
The U.S. Census stated last week that, according to its latest population estimates of July 2022, Memphis has 621,056 residents over Detroit’s 620,376. In other words, Memphis has 680 more Black residents than Detroit. Percentage-wise, Detroit is 76 percent Black and Memphis is 63 percent Black.
Though some residents, experts and city officials are cautious, if not disparaging, about the numbers —Mayor Mike Duggan called the U.S. Census a “clown show”–they are also acknowledging that the number is the latest example of ongoing exodus of Black people from the city.
The city has lost about 295,000 Black residents, or 37.4% of its African American population since 2020, and the Latino, Asian and White populations have increased. Some of the reasons Black Detroiters have cited for leaving the city are higher-paying jobs going to White people, not being able to afford housing in the city anymore and the crime rates.
The reality is a declining population usually means declining federal funding for important social-net organizations and other policies, projects and priorities.