The 2010 Census numbers are out and they aren’t pretty for the City of Buffalo. The city’s population is down 31,338 since 2000 to 261,310 as of April 1 2010. Since 1950, the city’s population has plummeted 54.9 percent from 580,132. Erie County also lost population in the last decade. The county’s population is down 3.2 percent or 31,225 people. By comparison, Niagara County’s was down 1.53. Statewide, the population grew 2.1 percent to 19,378,102.
It’s no surprise to City Hall. The City’s Comprehensive Plan is projecting the population to bottom out at “250,000 or lower before growth resumes.”
Whether the overall downward trend in Buffalo’s population will continue, level off or be reversed is a matter of informed speculation. Population estimates for 2010 and 2020 prepared by the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning based on a straight-line extrapolation of the 1990-2000 trend suggest that the city’s population may continue to decline to 250,000 or lower before growth resumes.
There is some evidence, however, that the trends of the past have already begun to level off. Moreover, this plan is based on an assumption that the strong interventions it recommends, combined with many policies already being pursued, will help turn around Buffalo’s population trends much sooner. New City of Buffalo efforts to coordinate economic development; target investments in schools, parks, housing and infrastructure; to repair the overall urban fabric all suggest that population growth can be restored in Buffalo even earlier than some projections indicate.
A wake-up call to ‘leaders’ here and in Albany perhaps?