This page will share data on population and household change in Metro Detroit from 1900 to 2020. The data was prepared as part of the “Mapping the Shrinking City” project, which received funding from the Wayne State Humanities Center and the Wayne State Division of Research in 2020. The project is a collaboration between Patrick Cooper-McCann (Principal Investigator) and MUP student Andrew Jason, who managed the datasets and created the maps.

For the project, we recalculated population and household data from the United States Census at three levels—county, county subdivision, and census tract or enumeration district—from 1900 to 2020 within fixed boundaries. We did this in two different ways. First, we recalculated all the data from 1900 to 2020 within 2010 Census shapes. Second, we reapportioned each decade’s Census data into the following decade’s shapes. Both methods enable decade-by-decade analysis of population and household change, but the results differ slightly due to variations in the Census geography being used. The data covers Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties. The reapportioned data is provided below for public use.

I. Background Information

The following documents explain where we found the data, which years are covered, how we reallocated it to fixed geographies, and how the data should be interpreted. It is important to understand that the data is estimated, not exact, which is why we created two different sets of data for comparison. The results differ slightly because the data has been reapportioned into different shapes.

  1. Data codebook (PDF)
  2. Data extent maps (PDF)
  3. GIS shapefiles
    1. Enumeration districts, 1900-1930: Urban Transition Historical GIS Project
    2. Census tracts, 1930-2020: IPUMS NHGIS
    3. County subdivisions, 1930-2020: IPUMS NHGIS
    4. Counties: 1900-2020: IPUMS NHGIS

II. Population and Household Change Within 2010 Census Geography

We first reapportioned each decade’s data into 2010 Census Geography.

Data files:

  1. County data, 1900-2020 (CSV)
  2. County subdivision data, 1930-2020 (CSV)
  3. Enumeration district and census tract data, 1900-2020 (CSV)

PDF maps:

  1. Year of Peak Population and Severity of Loss as of 2020 (PDF)
  2. Year of Peak Households and Severity of Loss as of 2020 (PDF)
  3. Decade-by-decade population loss by tract (PDF)
  4. Decade-by-decade population loss by county subdivision (PDF)
  5. Decade-by-decade household loss by tract (PDF)
  6. Decade-by-decade household loss by tract (PDF)

III. Tract-Level Population and Household Change Within Each Decade’s Census Geography

We also compared two decades of Census data at a time, reapportioning the older decade’s data into the more recent decade’s shapes. For example, the first map displays change between 1900 and 1910, with 1900 data reapportioned into 1910 shapes. The second map shows change between 1910 and 1920 using 1920 shapes. And so on.

Data files:

  1. Enumeration district data, 1900-1910 (CSV)
  2. Enumeration district data, 1910-1920 (CSV)
  3. Enumeration district data, 1920-1930 (CSV)
  4. Census tract data, 1930-1940 (CSV)
  5. Census tract data, 1940-1950 (CSV)
  6. Census tract data, 1950-1960 (CSV)
  7. Census tract data, 1960-1970 (CSV)
  8. Census tract data, 1970-1980 (CSV)
  9. Census tract data, 1980-1990 (CSV)
  10. Census tract data, 1990-2000 (CSV)
  11. Census tract data, 2000-2010 (CSV)
  12. Census tract data, 2010-2020 (CSV)

Map files:

  1. Decade-by-decade population loss, 1900-2020 (PDF)
  2. Decade-by-decade household loss, 1900-2020 (PDF)