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Locals react to Youngstown population loss

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Black Monday and the loss of major steel mills started the Youngstown population drain and a recent report shows no recent improvement.

Just since the 2010 census, the city's population dropped from 66.982 to 65,405 and Youngstown was the only city on the list to record a more than 2 percent decline.

Phil Kidd, a long time community activist and founder of Youngstown Nation believes the city's population loss is only a symptom of a larger issue.

"What we're up against is crushing sprawl in this area and that's a regional policy issue that's not just unique to Youngstown but to other urban metropolitan areas like Youngstown," Kidd says.

If we look at the top ten cities with with the highest percentage of population loss, six are in Michigan and three are in Ohio, with the others being Cleveland and Lakewood.

While Youngstown is experiencing some resurgence, especially downtown, Kidd notes that expanding infrastructure is making it easier for people to move out of cities.

"But we're building more infrastructure to have more out migration of people to move further away from not just Youngstown but now the townships and first ring suburbs," he says.

The Reverend Lewis Macklin is a strong community advocate who believes housing rehabilitation must be a priority.

"To provide quality affordable housing that folks will want to stay in the community not because they have to, but because they want to," Macklin says.

At the Youngstown Business Incubator, Barb Ewing believes life in the city is getting better.

"It takes a while for communities to catch back up ... for people to start to understand that the world has changed and changed for the better," Ewing says.

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