PINE BLUFF, Ark. – New census data shows Pine Bluff is one of the cities that lost the most population from 2010-2020 in cities of 5,000 residents or more.
The census released new numbers and it shows Pine Bluff with a population of 41,253. The 2010 census showed 49,083. The loss put Pine Bluff at almost a 16% decrease.
Ivan Whitfield serves on the Pine Bluff city council and he says past administrations and leadership made short-sighted decisions that are currently hampering the city.
“And we’re just behind and we’re trying to work now to catch up,” Whitfield said.
Kimbley Johson owns a t-shirt and vinyl shop, Sarah Mae Specially Made For You, in Pine Bluff and she believes public safety in the city is causing people to flee.
“Because of the crime rate here in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. I think that has a lot to do with it,” Johnson said.
Alderman Whitfield believes job growth is paramount to reviving the city and surrounding areas. Many say it is still too early to measure the effects of Saracen Casino and Whitfield thinks Pine Bluff shouldn’t be all-in on depending on them for growth.
He does believe more leadership is in place that will make decisions with more long-term sense.
“It is what it is and we’ll build on to it. We’ll take that 41 and hopefully, in 10 years we can get 10,000 more back and we’ll be at 51,” Whitfield said.
Johnson says she has seen more small businesses spring up in the area and her business thriving is a sign of that.
She also thinks crime and jobs are relational. If one goes up, the other goes down and Pine Bluff needs the job’s number to go up to continue what she thinks is an upswing.
“Just jobs and then that will keep the crime rate down,” Johnson explained.