Census Data: Pine Bluff, Ark., Declining Rapidly

The bad news for Pine Bluff, Ark., Incorporated into Thursday’s new census data, didn’t shock civic leaders there much: their metro area...

The bad news for Pine Bluff, Ark., Incorporated into Thursday’s new census data, didn’t shock civic leaders there much: their metro area saw a population decline of 12.5% ​​between 2010. and 2020, the largest percentage drop of all subways. region at this time.

The city now has around 87,500 inhabitants, up from just over 100,000 ten years ago.

But the residents of Pine Bluff have lived with a palpable sense of loss for years. A 2016 New York Times story told an unfortunate effort to use inmates and parolees to demolish hundreds of dilapidated and unoccupied homes.

Set amid fields of grains, beans, peas and cotton, Pine Bluff epitomizes the kind of struggle that many small, central American towns have gone through in recent decades, first with the mechanization of agriculture, which reduced the need for field workers, then foreign competition and outsourcing, which dealt repeated blows at the Pine Bluff manufacturing base.

These twin forces sent the city into a spin from which Pine Bluff could not recover. “The economy kept changing, the kids kept leaving,” State Representative Vivian Flowers, who represents the region, said Thursday. “And so your tax base shrinks and your ability to manage infrastructure and beautify the city – all of that has suffered. “

The state recently stepped in to take over two underperforming local school districts in the area (the districts were recently combined). In recent years, the city has also carved out a reputation high homicide rate.

At the beginning of June, a local television news channel reported that six murders in the region took place in the space of six days.

Pine Bluff City Council member Joni Alexander said Thursday the region has struggled to tap some of the hot sectors that are fueling the growth of other metropolitan areas, such as technology and healthcare.

She noted the announcement in July of the closure of a small auto parts plant that had been in business since the early 1980s. “We sort of have a lot of stuff to do with it,” Ms. Alexander said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Census Data: Pine Bluff, Ark., Declining Rapidly
Census Data: Pine Bluff, Ark., Declining Rapidly
Newsrust - US Top News
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