("MP1", 2002, p. 1-5).
The outward sprawl that started in the 1950's continues today. As the industrial base began to decline and with the advent of interstates it became easier to live at greater distances from one's work. This manifestation of the urban blight continued through the latter part of the 20th century. Much of the industrial base of Camden had moved to more southern sections of New Jersey or had relocated to other states. As seen in Figure 1 below which displays this dramatic shift in population, the decrease in Camden's population has coincided with the growth of suburban outlying areas of the surrounding region. For example, in 1950 the population of Camden was 125,000 while the outlying area's population was approximately 737,104. By 2000 the population of Camden was 79,904 while outlying areas had grown to almost 1.9 million people. The projected target for Camden in 2020 is 100,000 people based on the Camden Planning Board urban renewal initiatives.
As the population began to move out of the inner portions of the city due to the declining industry the demographics in Camden began to change. By the late 1960's the socio-economic conditions in Camden were poor. This was demonstrated by the riots in 1969 and 1971 which demonstrated the level of despair felt by the African American and Hispanic population that had migrated to the city. This precipitated the beginnings of urban renewal planning in Camden and the 1980's saw a slight population increase of approximately 3%. ("MP1", 2002, p. 1-6) The growth was short lived by the 1990's the population was decreasing again and more and more industry fled the city.
The dwindling industrial base was also manifested in the changing household demographics of the city. While as late as 1970 the homes comprised of married couples consumed 41% of the total households in Camden. By 2000 this had dwindled to 28% coupled with a 13% rise in single family homes headed by females equating to 40% in 2000 and an increase, as well of 4% of single people. In 2000 this total was 24%. Figure 2 below this data.
Figure 2: Household trends in Camden 1970 and 20002
According to the Master Development Plan (MP1) in 2002, not only had the economic base dwindled further, but the loss of the industrial base brought with it new demographic changes. Camden in 2000 as seen in Figure 3 below was comprised of 35% of residents 17 and under while the older population continued to decline. According to MP1 (2002, p. 1-7), in 2000 "The City's population remains young with a median age of 27.2 in 2000 as compared to 27.5 in 1970. The number of persons in the prime wage earning years of 45 to 64 has dropped by about 17% or by some 7,000 persons since 1970." Figure 3 below displays this shift in age of residents of Camden from 1990 to 2000. Along with this age shift came the need for increased services in our schools and recreational facilities. Camden did not keep up which lead to a further decline of the city.
Figure 3: Age Shift in