Many places across Michigan and the nation have experienced a growing trending of a residential rebirth in downtowns. Consider Grand Rapids and Detroit. Michigan's largest cities both have growing populations in those city cores.

There are some cities, however, that are going in the other direction with less people living in downtown areas. 24/7 Wall Street crunched the numbers and found the 40 most shrinking downtowns across America. The survey ranked the population growth and decline over the last decade from 2012-2022.

There are just two downtowns in Michigan among the 40 cities with the most downtown population decline. Flint saw a 16.9% decline, placing the Vehicle City as the 16th most shrinking in the nation. Just north up the interstate from Flint is Saginaw. That city was in the top 10 shrinking downtowns - 9th most shrunk with a 20.2% population decline downtown.

What's interesting about Saginaw is there could be two downtowns to the city. Nearly lost to history is the fact that modern day Saginaw is comprised of two cities - Saginaw City and East Saginaw. The two cities grew on opposite sides of the Saginaw River.  The state combined the two cities into a single municipality in 1889.

old saginaw city
Google Maps Street View

Saginaw's current city hall, post office and the Castle Museum - seen above - and Dow Event Center are all in what was once East Saginaw. Across the river, southwest of that downtown diagonal from Ojibway Island is another downtown - Old Saginaw City.

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Statistics however, don't always tell the true tale. As with any city there are many who cherish their downtown and Saginaw is no exception. The city certainly remains vibrant with restaurants and entertainment destinations.

The fastest shrinking downtowns are in the deep south. Columbus, Georgia; Pine Bluff, Arkansas and Albany, Georgia - which saw a 39% population decline.

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Gallery Credit: Jacob Harrison