Population shift in Youngstown not likely to turn around

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) –  The city of Youngstown has lost more than 100,000 residents in the last half-century, and a new population report sees more losses on the way.

Youngstown Mayor John McNally said the population shift in the city can easily be seen in the daily newspaper.

“You look at the obituary pages and those are filled up on some days. You look at the birth notices and it gets smaller and smaller as you go along,” McNally said.

And Youngstown continues to see people migrating out. The Urban Institute projects the city will lose another 6,000 residents by 2030. The five-county region could lose 75,000 – one out of every 10 people gone.

Thomas Finnerty with the Center of Urban Studies at Youngstown State University said the population shift is a warning to the region.

“Place who thought they were safe, who thought they were immune are not immune,” Finnerty said. “

The silver lining is that being set between Cleveland and Pittsburgh gives the Valley an opportunity in the technology center.

“Being able to set up your own tech stuff, but being able to go to Carnegie Mellon or go into Case University and get input from them. We have an advantage there that we are right in the middle,” Finnerty said.

Even if he can add jobs, McNally recognizes the city will continue to lose people, which may shrink the physical size of Youngstown.

“You have to talk about closing off streets that are no longer occupied. You have to able to shut off water and sewer lines to residential neighborhoods that are not filled with population anymore,” McNally said.

Reports show the city has been demolishing aggressively, taking down more than 2,500 buildings in the last decade. McNally said he will continue to push for more as vacant buildings become eyesores in the community.

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