Census Shows Memphis Is Largest Majority-Black City, Replacing Detroit

The Motor City questions the data’s accuracy as its population continues to plunge.

Newly released U.S. Census Bureau data shows that Memphis, Tenn. replaced Detroit as the nation’s largest majority-Black city, but that doesn’t sit well with Motor City’s Mayor Mike Duggan, The Detroit Free Press reports.

According to the 2022 population estimates, released on May 18, as of July 1, 2022, Memphis’ Black population was 621,056 compared to Detroit’s 620,376 – a slim difference of just 680 residents. Both cities have a larger percentage of Black residents than bigger cities like New York and Chicago.

In terms of a trend, the Census data shows that Detroit’s population has steadily declined over 70 years, reported. The city’s population peaked in 1950 at 1.8 million and dropped to 639,11 residents in 2020.

2020 Census Reveals Unprecedented Multiracial Growth, White Population Decline

Detroit has a history of challenging Census Bureau population reports. In September 2022, the city sued the bureau over its estimate that Detroit lost an additional 7,100 residents, the Associated Press reported. In the lawsuit, city officials demanded an explanation of how the bureau arrived at its figures.

“The Bureau’s failure to consider evidence of its inaccurate 2021 estimate costs the City and its residents millions of dollars of funding to which they are entitled while threatening the City’s historic turnaround by advancing the narrative that Detroit is losing population,” the lawsuit stated, according to the AP.

Duggan’s office said the city filed additional challenges last week to the bureau’s new population count.

"Every estimate has to be taken with several grains of salt. We may be bigger than Memphis right now,” demographer Kurt Metzger, told The Free Press, adding, "I would predict that we will be bigger than Memphis next year."

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