Report shows Chattanooga only city to reverse population decline

Report shows Chattanooga only city to reverse population decline

February 26th, 2009 by Andy Johns in Local Regional News

Chattanooga is bigger than ever before and is the only U.S. city to reverse population decline over the last few decades, according to a report released this morning.

Among U.S. cities with a population of more than 100,000, 20 cities, including Chattanooga, lost at least 10 percent of their population in the 1980s or 1990s, according to a report released by the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies. Of those 20 cities, Chattanooga is the only one to completely rebound and exceed its previous peak population, according to the report.

"It wasn't that long ago people were wondering if the decline would ever stop," said David Eichenthal, the Ochs' Center's president and CEO. "It's a very different picture as we stand here today."

At a press conference this morning, Mr. Eichenthal explained some of the reason for the growth, citing a huge 45 percent jump in the city's Latino population since the 2000 census. He said it's important to note that the black population of the city increased by more than 9 percent and the white population grew by nearly 10 percent, the first growth among whites since 1980.

"The simple way of saying this is there are more people living in Chattanooga than ever before," Mr. Eichenthal said.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.