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Cleveland is the central city of the nation’s 15 th most populous grouping of metropolitan areas—a seven-county region with a 2000 population of over 2.9 million. However, while the region’s overall population showed only very slow growth during the 1990s, the Cleveland metropolitan area saw a further decrease, as the decades-long trend known as “urban sprawl” continued. The city itself actually lost population at a slower rate during the 1990s than it had in previous decades, ending the century with 478,403 residents (2000 U.S. Census Bureau figure). As outward migration and development continue, it is Cleveland’s inner-ring suburbs that now find themselves facing many of the issues that the City has had to struggle with, including a declining population.

Major demographic patterns and trends, in addition to urban sprawl, that the city is grappling with include the following:

  • Cleveland remains highly segregated.
  • Cleveland profits little from international migration.
  • Cleveland lacks a young, highly-educated population.
  • Cleveland has a growing minority population, with a majority of its residents now members of minority groups.
  • While Clevelanders’ incomes increased during the 1990s, the city’s workforce remains primarily low-wage.
  • Cleveland has a relatively small number of married-couple households and a large number of single-parent and single-person households.
  • Cleveland has a high ratio of children and seniors to wage earners.
  • The State of Ohio and the region are expected to continue in a slow growth pattern.

Much of the information in this chapter comes from an analysis of the United States decennial census done by the Brookings Institution in a report entitled: “ Cleveland in Focus: A Profile from Census 2000”. In the report, Cleveland is compared to 23 other large American cities, and a profile of Cleveland relative to those cities is presented.

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