The Toronto Star reported on Thursday that Toronto passed Chicago to become the fourth largest city in North America:
But according to the latest census data from Statistics Canada, as of last July 1, Toronto’s population was 2,791,140, about 84,000 more than Chicago’s 2,707,120.
While both numbers are estimates, the gap was enough to spur Toronto economic development staffers to declare the city is “now the fourth largest municipality in North America.”
Toronto (the city proper, not the GTA) grew by 38,000 in the previous 12 months. In Chicago’s case, 12-month growth was about 11,000.
When it comes to cities, size matters. Besides bragging rights, growing cities may accrue economic benefits, stronger exposure and presence on the world stage, and more clout at the national level. Growth suggests vitality and attractiveness.
Small wonder Chicago officials seemed unusually reticent when it came to addressing Hogtown’s (at least theoretical) leap ahead of their toddlin’ town.
This won’t help Chicagoans who are already nervous about Chicago being considered a global city. A quick search of the Chicago Tribune website suggests this is not a story on Chicago’s radar screen though an early February 2013 editorial praised Canada. The Chicago Sun-Times did feature an article by Neil Steinberg on the population changes and differences between the cities…but Steinberg also got himself embroiled in a hostile Twitter exchange.