So we now have the magic number. Yesterday the government released data from the 2010 census and — no shocker here — Cleveland’s population took a 17 percent hit, dropping some 80,000 individuals. The current figure is 396,815, a new 100-year low.
Today the stat remains news. The number was plastered all large font across the Plain Dealer’s front page and led the morning newscasts; everyone’s hoisting the figure around as another sign of city decline, the fifth or sixth broken seal before we go down in flames. We’ll leave it to others (many others, we’re guessing; columnists and news personalities love to toss on a conductor’s hat and ride this media train ad nauseam) to feel out the ramifications of the data. Instead, we’re trying to wrap our brainpans around the sheer magnitude in question. 390,000? What does that even look like? Is this Tulsa small we’re talking about here? What’s a comparable amount of people? Or even a comparable quantity?
We beamed our questions down to Scene’s research department, where a half dozen PhDs got on it. Below is a quick list of data points we’ve dug up to help you conceptualize the city’s new pop. Keep in mind we’re talking about Cleveland, City of, not the Cleveland area.
• Cleveland = Ardabil. It is Tulsa small. Now that we’re just under 400,000 inhabitants, Cleveland’s in the same neighborhood as U.S. cities Tulsa, Colorado Springs, and Honolulu. To take this globally, we’re about the size of Manchester, UK, Maua, Brazil, Ardabil, Iran, and Villahermosa, Mexico, just to name a couple of the hot spot.
• Cleveland = Booted Immigrants. 400,000 is the number of illegal immigrants Immigration and Customs Enforcement predicts it will deport in the fiscal year 2010.
• Cleveland = Jobs from Obamacare, supposedly. During the long mudsling over President Obama’s health care overhaul, the Democrats threw around 400,000 as the number of new jobs that would be created instantly by the legislation.
• Cleveland = Dead Chinese Warriors. In 260 BC, the ancient Chinese kingdoms of Qin and Zhao went at it for continental dominance. In one decisive battle, Qin forces routed their opponents and buried almost 400,000 Zhao troops alive after they surrendered. Qin ain't nothing to eff with.
• Cleveland = Nintendo 3DSs Sold on Day One. PC World reports the gaming giant’s moved 400,000 of its new console moved when the product was released in Japan in February.
• Cleveland = WikiLeaks Stash. The city’s new popular figure happen to match the number of U.S. Army reports on the Iraq War released by Julian Assange & co.
• Cleveland = The Number of Recycled Cans Needed to Pay For a Modest Wedding. You probably could call Peter Geyer and Andrea Parrish cheap, for lack of a better word. When the couple got engaged, they decided they’d pay for the happiest day of their lives by recycling cans. It took 400,000 to raise the $3,800 they needed for their dream wedding.
So there you have it: 400,000 brought down to real life terms — tin cans, dead warriors, and illegal immigrants. Now you can accurately heft that figure around your thought process when you decide whether or not to move to Brunswick.
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