The Recovery of Downtown vs Cleveland and Cincinnati Part #2- Update

Part #2 looks more specifically at the Downtown area of the 3-Cs.

**Updated with 2017 data.

First, let’s look at the total Downtown populations since 1950.

This graph, I think, will surprise most people. The first surprise is that downtown populations in 1950 were not nearly as high as most would have you believe. Cincinnati did have almost 22K people there, but even a city like Cleveland had less than 10K, and that was during the absolute peak of its city population. Another surprise is that Columbus was not always the lowest populated downtown and was more populated than Cleveland’s in 1950. Finally, the last surprise is that while all the downtowns are now growing, Columbus has regained 2nd place and Cleveland has seen the most growth so far.

What about tract trends for the downtowns? Well first, here are the population trends for each downtown.

Individual census tract population figures are based on the latest Census estimates for 2017. They are most likely too low or too high in some cases. For example, the city of Columbus estimates the current Downtown population FAR HIGHER than what the Census has them, and the significant drop in one of Cincinnati’s tracts is most likely incorrect. However, because the Census numbers are considered to be the most official, that’s what I’m using. Still, I expect wide differences when the physical counts come out for 2020.

Here is the total population change by Downtown.

Finally, I wanted to look at more of the downtown area than just the central business district. “Downtown” for many includes more areas than that and may be a “Greater Downtown Area”, the measurement between the full 1950 boundaries and just the CBD.

Here are the tracts I considered to be the Greater Downtown area for each city.

Cincinnati: 2, 7, 9, 10, 11, 263, 264, 265, 268
Cleveland: 1033, 1036, 1042, 1071, 1077, 1078, 1082, 1083, 1084
Columbus: 21, 22, 29, 30, 32, 36, 38, 40, 42, 52, 53, 57

And the graph for the population of these tracts since 1950 through 2017.

Cincinnati reached it’s lowest population for the past 60 years for this area in 2000 and has grown since. Cleveland’s greater downtown had bottomed out in 1990 and had the fasted growth during the 2000s, although that seems to have slowed some since 2010. Columbus managed to maintain the highest population in its greater downtown, bottomed out in 2000 and has grown since.

All this shows is that the Downtown, and the surrounding areas, are seeing a resurgence in the 3-Cs for the most part.