Until 1950, the City reported a growth in population with every census. In 1951, Cincinnati’s streetcars stopped running and the next half century brought population declines at every enumeration. Cincinnati’s current population is about 2/3rds of what it was in 1950.
Not all neighborhoods lost population equally. In some neighborhoods like Bond Hill or Riverside the population change was only a few hundred people. But in the urban core, those neighborhoods that were built before the automobile and most dependent on transit service suffered huge population losses.
Between 1950 and 2000 Downtown and Over-the-Rhine combined lost 32,520 people—about the current size of Westwood, our most populous neighborhood. The loss from these two neighborhoods amounted to 19% of the City’s total population loss over this period.
In order to grow the tax base and provide more resources to all of the City’s 52 neighborhoods, we need to grow our population base which will provide more income and property tax receipts for the City.
Downtown and Over-the-Rhine have large numbers of vacant lots and under-utilized buildings that make them the perfect candidates to start this effort. Building the Streetcar will help attract new residents to Downtown and Over-the-Rhine, decrease the parking needed for new homes and condos, and restore fixed rail transit to an area that has been in steep decline since transit was removed. A stronger core will give the City greater resources to provide those services that are so vital to maintaining healthy neighborhoods throughout Cincinnati.
Grow our Population. Build the Streetcar.
Note: The Downtown numbers from 1950 do not include anything west of Plum Street so the total Downtown losses were probably even greater.