25 Largest Cities in US, 1911 and 2011

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, July 7, 1911: Nothing much at all to write about.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Four days ago, I posted the high temperature in 25 cities for July 3, 1911. At that time I wondered which cities were the largest cities in the US in 1911. Since Grandma didn’t have much to say a hundred years ago today, I’ll tell you what I found.

The 25 largest cities in 1911 were:largest cities, 1911

And, then I wondered which cities are the largest now—and what their rank had been in 1911:

largest cities, 2011

One thing that really surprised me about these lists is that the rank of Detroit was about the same in both 1911 and 2011 (9th in 1911 and 11th in 2011), so I looked at the rank in some of the intervening years. Detroit apparently grew rapidly as the auto industry took off—and it was the 4th largest city in the US by 1920.

For those who care about the details: I used US Census Bureau data for the ranks. The 1911 numbers are based on the 1910 census; the 2011 ranks are based on 2009 estimates. There may be some minor changes in the rank when detailed data become available from the 2010 census.

8 Responses

  1. Interesting stats. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is great. I think, as a resident of greater L.A., that it shows our population is getting much more sensible as to where it wants to spend its time.

  3. Were Cleveland and Cincinnati really tied at 43rd in 2011? The only (potential) anomaly I noticed, though. Great work!

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