CHICAGO — Mayor Dave Bing Tuesday said he would challenge newly released U.S. Census results that show Detroit’s population dropped by a quarter in the last decade to 713,000, the lowest head count since 1910.
The Motor City stands to lose millions in federal and state aid and seats in both the U.S. and Michigan Houses if its population officially falls under 750,000.
The city successfully challenged the 2000 Census estimate, boosting the number of residents by 50,000 in an effort that took seven years.
“We are in a fiscal crisis and we have to fight for every dollar,” Bing said after the Census numbers were released. “We can’t afford to let these results stand.”
Michigan bases its revenue aid to Detroit on population, and with the loss of a third of that revenue already looming under freshman Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget, an additional loss tied to a population decline could devastate the city, Bing said.
Census figures show Detroit’s population at 713,777, a 25% drop from the 951,000 residents recorded to be living in the city in 2000. That’s the lowest number since 1910, when the city’s population totaled 466,000.
Bing said every resident would bring in about $10,000 in aid over the next decade. The city has until June 2013 to challenge the numbers, and the mayor was expected to meet Wednesday with Snyder to talk about ways to avoid state revenue cuts due to the population drop.
“The Census has a history of undercounting residents in urban cities like Detroit,” Bing said. “We were undercounted in 2000, and the Census estimate was again revised in 2007.”
The mayor is in the midst of a plan called Detroit Works that would shrink the city’s boundaries. Officials are encouraging residents to move into one of nine so-called population centers that will be unveiled this spring. Residents who do not move would likely be cut off from most public services, including garbage pick-up, lighting, and police protection.
Bing has said in the past that he expects to cut off services to nearly 45 square miles — out of the city’s 139 miles — after the plan is implemented. A third of Detroit is now vacant.