Cincinnati has had a steadily declining population for several decades. Between 2000 and 2010, the population dropped from 331,300 to 296,900. While the worst of the decline seems to be over, Cincinnati still has not recovered its previous population.
Strained Racial Relations in Cincinnati
Cincinnati has historically been predominantly white, with a 1940 white population accounting for 88% of the population. Cincinnati has dealt with strained race relations for much of its history, however. Due to its location on the Ohio River, the city was a border town between Kentucky, a slave state, and Ohio, with many residents playing a role in abolitionism. Many fugitive slaves also crossed at Cincinnati to escape North, and it had several stations on the Underground Railroad.
There have been many race riots in Cincinnati. The earliest occurred in 1829 when a riot broke out as anti-abolitionists attacked black people in the city, with other riots happening in 1836 and 1841.
One of the most recent racially-charged riots occurred in 2001 when police shot and killed a black man during a foot pursuit. Racial agitation again reared its head with the case of a university officer named Ray Tensing and his actions in the death of Samuel DuBose, which lead to some protests and two mistrials in court as juries became deadlocked and could not reach an agreement.
Cincinnati Population Growth
Like many other large industrial cities, Cincinnati recorded a peak population in 1950 and it has steadily lost people since. Cincinnati has lost 43% of its peak population, while its metropolitan area has doubled in population.
Municipal boundaries have remained unchanged since 1950, yet thousands of pre-war homes and apartments have now been replaced by non-residential structures, including expressways, hospitals, and universities.
Cincinnati is in a tight position, as increasing the population in the city proper would now require higher rents, increased traffic and most likely the demolition of many historic buildings for the construction of high-rise apartments.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently rated the U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest and lowest projected job growth. Cincinnati was ranked as one of the bottom ten urban areas for job growth, which does not bode well for increased population in the near future.