Why did this city’s population fall?
More than 60 years after it was built, Charlotte, North Carolina, is still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Hugo in August 1950.
It’s been a tough place to be for decades, with poverty, violence, unemployment, the loss of hundreds of homes and many people homeless.
But the city has now been hit hard by the new pandemic.
The population is down by about half, from 2.8 million to 1.7 million, with a population decline of nearly 12% in the last two years.
“I just want people to know that there are other people in Charlotte, that there is more work to do,” said John Rizzo, who owns the Rizzos Restaurant in Charlotte.
“We’re trying to do what we can, but it’s tough.”
A new CDC study released Thursday says the number of people living below the poverty line in Charlotte and across the state has risen for the second straight year, with the percentage of the city’s residents living in poverty continuing to rise.
In 2016, about 6.2% of the population lived in poverty.
This year, the number was 9.6%, according to the new study, the results of which are based on data from the CDC’s National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.
That’s a 1.9 percentage point increase in just a few years, and is up from 2 percentage points in 2016.
It also marks the third consecutive year that Charlotte has lost at least one-tenth of its population.
In 2015, the city lost 3,800 people and had a population of 1.5 million, according to Census Bureau estimates.
That city also lost its highest-ranking police officer, who was forced to retire after the 2016 pandemic devastated the city.
The city’s unemployment rate has remained steady at 8.6% for nearly four years.
Charlotte is not alone in the city being hit by this pandemic, but the impact is still being felt by the population.
According to the CDC, Charlotte has the highest rate of homelessness in the nation.
While Charlotte lost its two highest-profile police officers, there were 8,800 additional homeless people in 2016, the majority of whom are African American.
“There’s more than 1,000 people in the streets, there’s hundreds of people on the street and that’s an epidemic that affects us all,” said Rizzoo.
“It’s not just our police officers that are hurting.”
Rizzio says the city will continue to work with the CDC and other agencies to help rebuild.
“Charlotte is not only a big city, it’s a community that is full of people, people that are working, people who are raising kids, people with children and people that love this city,” he said.
The CDC says the numbers are consistent with the national trend, and they say the number is continuing to climb.