Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Since the 1950s, Cleveland has been steadily losing population. That means most people who were born and grew up here do not remember a time when the city was growing.

There’s a term for this consistent depopulation: shrinking city syndrome. Definitions vary, but according to a widely quoted 2009 Tufts University study, a shrinking city has lost at least 10 percent of its peak population since 1950. Though Cleveland ranks high in the shrinking city roster—it’s the fourth most depopulated city in the nation, having lost 56 percent of its population since 1950s–it’s certainly not alone in its decline.

If downsizing becomes part of your collective DNA, it’s hard to envision growth. Rust Belt leaders often frame discussions of the future as “How do we dwindle best?”

Read the rest in Belt Magazine.