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Chicago's population has dropped again, data shows. Here's what Mayor Johnson chalks it up to

If the population drop continues, Chicago could soon lose its status as the third-largest city.

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Chicago retained its longstanding position as the country's third-largest city despite experiencing a decline in population for yet another year, new U.S. Census Bureau data revealed.

Updated numbers released Thursday showed the Windy City lost approximately 0.3% of its population between July 1, 2022 and July 1, 2023. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson addressed the decline in a statement, saying the underlying causes of population loss in Chicago are "deeply rooted in historic disinvestment."

"The lack of affordable housing, loss of jobs, and closed schools and mental health clinics have impacted many of Chicago's communities, and disproportionately hurt Black Chicagoans in particular,” he said.

Johnson, in the statement, appeared to question the findings, saying "it is likely that the data inputs are not current enough to reflect the rebound of international migration and the recent inflow of asylum seekers."

The mayor did, however, acknowledge Chicago - like other big cities - was affected "by the large drop in net international migration at the onset of the pandemic" and that "population counts were further impacted by incomplete counts for residents" living in group quarters.

"The City of Chicago will continue to work with the Census Bureau to ensure that its population is accurately represented in official statistics, including these new estimates, ensuring that Chicago residents receive their fair share of funding and that services are available to residents where they need them to be," the statement read, in part.

If the population drop continues, Chicago could soon lose its status as the third-largest city.

Houston, which has been just behind Chicago in population numbers for several years, continued to grow in size again from July 1, 2022 and July 1, 2023. According to data, the Texas city grew by 0.5% to 2,314,157.

An analysis from the Illinois Policy Institute predicts Chicago will be overtaken by Houston by 2035 "if population trends hold."

Chicago is seeing quicker reductions in population than its fellow large cities, according to Census Bureau data. New York, which has shed nearly 550,000 residents since 2019, saw a drop of 77,000 residents last year.

Los Angeles lost only 1,800 people last year, reversing some pandemic-era trends in that category.

Chicago disputed both its 2022 population estimate and 2020 Census counts. A challenge to the 2022 estimate led to the addition of more than 7,600 people, according to the city. When it comes to the 2020 Census, 5,547 people "living in uncounted group quarters" were added following a separate challenge.

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