There are only 9 cities in the United States with populations over 1 million. The list includes New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Philadelphia, Chicago, Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. With this afternoon’s release of Census 2010 numbers for New York City, the final 2010 data is in.
Of these 1 million or more cities, only Chicago lost population over the last decade, yet the media seems to be in love with Mayor Daley. The New Yorker called Mayor Daley “America’s most successful mayor.” Newsweek is equally “impressed” with Daley’s performance, saying “Daley also leaves behind a glittering metropolis that Chicagoans rightly love and outsiders can only envy.”
Chicago’s 200,000 person loss shows Mayor Daley’s failed legacy as Mayor. Daley leaves office with a smaller population than when he took office in 1989. Numbers are stubborn things. There was no Chicago comeback of the middle class to experience bad public schools, high taxes, and corruption. Almost no one predicted Philadelphia would gain population while Chicago declined. Mayor Daley’s legacy appears to be built on smoke and mirrors. A fawning media of urban reporters puffed up Daley for years. According to the numbers, Mayor Daley is America’s worst Mayor leaving Rahm Emanuel with intractable problems. Is it more accurate to call Mayor Daley the white man’s Coleman Young?